Looking Toward Lent

by the Rev. Charlie Dupree

Well, another season is coming to a close. The season of Epiphany began on January 6. This year, the season of Epiphany was very short because Ash Wednesday comes so early . . . . February 14th. This means that on Sunday, we’ll have a special day in worship as we sing and say as many alleluias as we can. It’s a day to feast before we begin our fast . . . the season of Lent.

As we look ahead to Lent, however, I want to caution us against seeing it as a time of doom and gloom. I once had a parishioner say to me that she stopped coming to church during Lent because it was depressing. I wouldn’t say “depressing,” though . . . I like to use the word introspective. It’s a time to take a look at ourselves and our relationships. What matters to us? What is shaping our lives? What do we value? What relationships are important? What relationships need our attention? How can we get reacquainted with ourselves?

I don’t think that Jesus wants us to be depressed. Jesus wants us to live abundantly. And, sometimes, abundance is even more abundant after a season of restraint – a time to really tune in to our blessings. The word Lent means ‘to lengthen.’ Our worship services and our offerings during Lent are intended to help us enter into a period of self-awareness so that we can emerge refreshed and awakened. It all points, after all, to resurrection. 

As we prepare to move into Lent, I pray that you think about the words of Saint Mark (1:35), who tells us that in the early morning, Jesus went out to find a time to pray. Jesus was interrupted, though. The world would try to keep us from claiming time for self-care and self-reflection and prayer. But, mercifully, we have the church which gives us an entire season during which to meditate on God’s presence in our lives.

What kind of Lent is God imagining for you?

By the way, I led the Speaker’s Interfaith Devotional Bible Study early this morning. It was a great time to be with those who exercise leadership in our Commonwealth. I gave them all, including our Governor, a warm greeting from St. Paul’s!

See you in church,

Charlie+ (he/him)