Observing Lent in 2011?

A year ago, I was all geared up for Lent. I’m not entirely sure why, but for whatever reason, I was “feeling” it. The idea of celebrating Lent was sort of novel, and I was gung-ho to help people plumb the depths of falling into the rhythms of the Christian calendar.

Today was a much different story. I was sitting in a meeting and one of my beloved co-workers kindly reminded all of us that Lent was a few short weeks away. The indifference in the room was palpable. The enthusiasm of last year was a distant memory. No one said it, but it was like we were all thinking, “Yeah, we did that last year. What’s new?”

And the response of the Christian calendar is in many respects, “nothing.” We live in a culture that is obsessed with novelty and newness. I am already salivating over an iPhone that I haven’t even seen yet that is rumored to be released sometime this summer. And so something about entering into a Lenten observance this year feels like last year’s iPhone… obsolete.

But I’m coming to realize that this is precisely the beauty of Lent. It enters into one’s life this year (and every year) as an intrusion. My mind is on other things and Lent inconveniently shows up to remind me that I am in need again this year of creating space in my life to reflect on Jesus’ abundant life, sacrificial death, and life-giving resurrection.

So for these reasons – and more – I’ll be entering into the Lenten season in much the same way as I did last year. In fact, I’m going to read the very same resource that I did a year ago. It was good. It was thought-provoking. And I’ve forgotten almost all of it. Which is I guess is the point of Lent. That things forgotten are brought to the forefront again.

Here’s what I’ll be reading, as well as some other options.

So, three weeks from tomorrow, Lent will begin. And I will begin again to come to terms with all the truths that are so easily forgotten. How about you?

Resources for Lent

Grizzly Bear – Two Weeks

It’s strange how the Christian calendar has grown in significance for me over the past several years.  I don’t remember when I was first introduced to the idea of Lent, but something about it resonated with me from my initial experience with it.  I’ll be talking more about that in the next week or so.

However, with Ash Wednesday (the beginning of Lent) just a couple weeks away, I wanted to make you aware of some resources that can help focus your heart, mind, and soul during the forty-six days leading up to Easter.

Last year, I used this great book by (of course) my man N. T.

Over Christmas, my beloved bought me Bread and Wine: Readings for Lent.  It is a collection of readings by various authors who in turn speak to the truths that are prominent during the Lenten season.  The line up is impressive…  Kathleen Norris, Thomas a Kempis, Bonhoeffer, Kierkegaard, Kahil Gibran, Jurgen Moltmann, Wendel Berry, Mother Teresa, to name a few.  Knowing that I’ll be “sitting down” with these folks during the days leading up to Easter has helped me to look forward to it all the more.

I was also recently made aware of another book that isn’t necessarily a Lent reading, but since it follows a popular “40-day” format, it will certainly fit for the season.

I realize that several of us already have a bit of a reading project going on, but I like to think that there is always a little more time for reading.