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Does Lent Never End? – Shawna R. B. Atteberry
Mar 302007
 

It’s the fifth week of Lent–yes fifth. And every year at about this time, I am ready for Lent to be over, like I was ready for winter to be over by the third week.

Lent the time of self-denial and getting rid of things that hamper your growth with God and your growth as a person. It’s a time of self-examination. It’s a time of major pruning in the Christian calendar.

I’m tired of Lent, of confession, and the the tempetures still dropping down into 30s. I’m tired of my Lenten discipline: making time to meditate 20 minutes a day. I am ready for this season to end.

Aah, but there are signs that the physical winter, as well as the winter of the soul are coming to an end. Green is shooting up through what has died.

Life is once again coming from death, and Lent is coming to its end. Sunday is Palm Sunday, the beginning of Holy Week. We’ll remember and celebrate Jesus’ final entry into Jerusalem while we hold in tension that, while we are singing “Hosanna to the highest!” by Good Friday we will be shouting “Crucify him!” Maundy Thursday is the reminder of the new commandment Jesus gave the disciples the night he washed their feet and shared Passover with them: “Love one another as I have loved you.” And how we as the Body of Christ fail so miserably at that most of the time. Then Good Friday: candles are extinguished as we recount his arrest, trial, and crucifixion. One by one the candles will be extinguished until the church is dark and the Cross is shrouded in black. Even the Paschal light will be carried out. Christ is in the grave. Vigil Saturday: a day of the inbetween. A day of knowing Christ died, but that he also rose. But we must wait. We must wait until Easter morn when the sun breaks through the darkness and the cry rings out: “He is risen!” “He is risen indeed!” Then we can once again shout our hallelujas! I miss hallelujas.

But not yet. Not yet. This is still Lent, but the signs of the Resurrection are all around me.

 

Winter is gone, and Lent has almost run its course, and new life waits on the other side.

 

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  9 Responses to “Does Lent Never End?”

  1. What I don’t understand about Lent is if the thing you are giving up is so bad, then why do you return to it after the 40 days are over? This stems from a conversation I was having today. Also, some (not all) people then indulge in the forbidden food/behavior, etc immediately after Lent is over. It seems more of a duty than a discipline.

  2. Shawna,

    A thought-provoking post. May the fertile soil of the discipline of Lent yield an abundant harvest of hallelujas in your life and the life of all who read this blog.

  3. That’s why I try to add something to Lent. This year I have up 20 minutes of something else to meditate. One year I added silence: I didn’t listen to the radio in the car or music at work. I think what you give up takes on more meaning if there is something you can also add. If you’re fasting TV then use that time you normally spend watching TV to volunteer at a food pantry or pray. If your fasting food, use the money you would have paid for the food to give to the food pantry or Feed the Children. I don’t give up something just to give it up: there has to be some way I take that time or resources to build the kingdom.

  4. Thank you.

  5. Heather,

    Lent is a time of fasting. Fasting is never supposed to mean restraining yourself from doing something bad. That’s not fasting, that’s everyday life. During the season of Lent one is supposed to fast from things that are good (like sweets or buying new books or drinking alcohol, etc. A guy I know fasts from electricity for a week during Lent.) and sometimes from things that are necessities (like food and water). Lent allows us to take stock of the good things in our lives that we take for granted.

    If Lent becomes a time to stop doing bad things (say, robbing houses or gorging myself on food) then Lent becomes meaningless, as I shouldn’t be doing those things anyway. Lent is so much more than that. Jesus was sinless and yet he fasted, which shows that fasting is not about ridding oneself of sinful ways (though fasting can certainly lead to this). Fasting should always be a time of preparation for new life, just as Jesus’ time of fasting was preparation for his ministry. Lent is a time of preparation for the new life Easter brings.

  6. I can’t wait for Lent to end, either. I am so ready to wear make-up again. Haha. But Lent is always an amazing experience. God has taught me so much these past 40 days. It’s amazing what can happen when we give up one little thing to deepen our relationship with God.

  7. I’m glad to hear that. I’ve learned a lot too, but like you, I’m still ready for it to end.

  8. Good post Shawana- I like the way you bring the positive out of the struggle… and the waiting time is almost over- rejoice Easter will soon be upon us!

  9. Sally, thank goodness. I am ready for the “He Is Risens” and the hallelujahs!

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