Lent 2014

It is time to change the mood.Ash Wednesday 2014

It is time to pull back.

It is time to rethink, restart, repent.

It is the season of Lent.

I am preparing myself for Lent now for the seventh time. I have been practicing Lent since 2008,  when I was growing increasing tired of Christian fads and gimmicks and I was longing for something to connect me to my Christian heritage, something I couldn’t buy for $99.99; I had been looking for a well-trodden path of spiritual formation. I found it in the age-old practice of Lent.

I blogged on why I practice Lent two years ago. No need to rehash all the details of the great benefits of Lent. It may be sufficient enough to say that Lent is a way to enter into, and connect with, the sufferings of Jesus.

“I calculate everything as a loss, because knowing King Jesus as my Lord is worth far more than everything else put together!…This means knowing him, knowing the power of his resurrection, and knowing the partnership of his sufferings. It means sharing the form and pattern of his death, so that somehow I may arrive at the final resurrection from the dead.” – Philippians 3:8,10-11 (Kingdom New Testament)

Any talk of suffering sends waves of rebellion down my spine. I, like most people, resist suffering, choosing the path of comfort and ease if it is up to me. Lent is a particular focus on suffering. You certainly cannot package Lent and sell it in a Christian bookstore. The beauty of the practice of Lent is found in its lack of marketability and it is not up to me! The practice of this season is what the church has done since the early Middle Ages. It is a handed-down tradition. (Well…I do have some say in how I choose to fast during Lent, but the times and season have been set by the church.) The fact is without the historic practice of Lent, I would not fast as often as I should. Lent has helped me form good habits of fasting and repentance.

Paul and the Faithfulness of God by N.T. Wright

This year I am fasting on Wednesdays and Fridays, which has been traditional fasting days for the church. My plan is not to eat solid food on those days. (I will break my fast after church on Fridays.) In addition to fasting solid food I am taking a break from Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. I’m breaking away from social media to devote time to prayer, Scripture, and spiritual reading. I am finishing THE BIG PAUL BOOK (otherwise known as Paul & the Faithfulness of God by N.T. Wright). This two-volume book will be my primary reading during Lent. I started this 1,700-page-reading-marathon on the first Sunday of Advent last December. It been a long process working through both volumes, but it is seriously the most important thing I have read in the last 15 years. In order to devote my time to reading, I will spend less time on social media. I hate to lose contact with people through Facebook and Twitter. I guess I will have to go old-school and depend on email. I will not be checking my Facebook or Twitter accounts during Lent, so if you need me, email me, or contact me through the church website.

I will blog during Lent.

A couple of exciting things are happening over the next seven weeks. I will have the chance to meet N.T. Wright in person later this month. He is speaking in Overland Park on March 27 and I feel like a 12 year-old girl getting ready to go to a One Direction concert. No joke. I am beside myself with excitement. I will blog on that event….with pictures….pictures of me and Tom ya know!

I will also be going on one or two shakedown hikes to test out my gear for the upcoming Georgia section hike on the Appalachian Trail in June. I am equally excited about the hike this summer. After Easter, I will be seven weeks away from the hike. So if you think I am obsessing over hiking now…just wait. I will blog a bit about my Spring hikes with pictures and video.

I am ready for Lent this year. I have my fasting plan. I have my reading plan. Next up: ashes.


If you are in the St. Joe area, I would invite you to join us for one of our four Ash Wednesday services in the Upper Room at 7AM, noon, 5:30PM, & 7PM. These are identical services, so I encourage you to join us for one of them.