The SALT blog published this guide for Lent – “As Lent begins, this is the perfect week to reflect on the season and what it means in Christian life: an invitation to a 40-day journey of reflection, repentance, and preparation for the great mystery of the empty tomb. Now is the time to change our lives, to embark upon a kind of soulful spring cleaning. What in our personal and communal lives needs repentance or renewal, a “change of heart” or “change of life”? How do we need to be both humbled and strengthened? How can we better prepare for the radiant 50 days of Easter? Might a sojourn in the wilderness “with the wild beasts” be just what we need?”
Going further into the blog-“That is, the basis of Christian life is not our repentance, not our good works; rather, the basis of Christian life is what God has done and is doing, and our good works flow from the joyous, thankful recognition of that graceful liberation. True repentance — changing our lives and hearts for the better — flows from God’s activity in the world, not the other way around. In this way, Jesus’ sermon is a call not into anxious exertion, but rather into gratitude and joy.”
According to this, Lent should emphasize the positive moving forward and not gullies and valleys of repenetence. Moving forward is reconnecting to God, going deeper and expressing that in the world. We each need to consider our options. For me, it is looking forward to April 22 and Earth Day and collecting the excesses (plastic, trash) of our modern lives. It gets us outside as the days lenthen (Lent!) and promoges exercise. Stepping forward will be different for everyone. It’s finding that one or multiple things that will promote real liberation.
Lent does have a sense tension between the need for repentance and forgiveness and the sense of moving forward. We have a dialog between two priests from All Saints Episcopal in Frederick, MD about Lent from 2019 of also a tension they see in Lent.
As they noted, at the beginning we are reminded of our mortality by making the mark on our foreheads, a mark that come from the past – palms burned from last year’s Palm Sunday. They we come forward after a few prayers, celebrate and share communion and we are reminded of this everlasting life which moves forward. From we holding these two pieces in tension that we really enter into Lent.
On this Sunday, the children in God’s Children began learning the Lord’s Prayer. Jan and Elizabeth used a video method to teach the prayer through signing and then using a printed cross with the prayer printed on the cross’s arms so that the children could trace their way forard. They did very well and are well on the way to being able to say it in church
They moved foward, adding an addition connection in their church life. Learninig is a great practice for Lent. Coincidentally, this week, The Dean of Washington Cathedral in a meditation wrote that the Lord’s Prayer was the “perfect prayer.”