Lent began yesterday. I know this for a number of reasons not the least being that Ash Wednesday always follows Free Pancake Tuesday at IHOP. I went once and it so traumatized me I have not forgotten it. I avoid “FREE” events in general. There is a reason we pay for things. But “Free” involving large crowds and syrup and the smell of breakfast cooking all day. I can’t go back.
Our church is reading through NT Wright’s “Lent for Everyone”
I am already behind. But I will tell you that I’m a fan of N.T. Pause for a moment and try to list the great writers and thinkers of the past century who were willing to drop the whole name thing and go with their first two initials: A.A. , P.L., J.K., E.B., C.S., Jay Z. We can’t go wrong.
N.T. Wright is a favorite of mine for two reasons:
1. He can get people from two different critical Biblical spectrums around the same table and still say something. He doesn’t compromise. But he doesn’t polarize. There’s a goal.
2. He has a passion for getting the “deep stuff” into everybody’s hands. Obviously he’s brilliant and reads in 9 languages but his “For Everyone” series is powerful and applicable and has become such a vehicle for scholarship informing discipleship.
Six bloggers from our church will be submitting writings on their experiences during Lent and with this book. Today’s post gives the history behind Lent and ashes on the forehead in case, like me, you’re still stuck smelling syrup this time of year. You can follow the blog here.
The 40 Days of Lent are based on Jesus’ 40 Days in the desert – when this God-man declares that God is enough. Enough. So we give up things, and we add on things and we practice being thankful and mindful all the while walking towards his death and sorrow and his resurrection and joy. We engage Him and His story in a deeper way, tied up inevitably with the ways our own stories right now bring sorrow and joy. I’m reminded as I journey through my own stuff , how much I wish spiritual growth occurred on all-inclusive trips to St. Barts. But I know, though too often I resent it, that He draws us close in the darkness, and in the unknowns. The stuff that breaks us forms us again and again. “Abraham…obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.”
Here’s to Lent friends. May we finish at a different place than where we began.