Despite my rather curious and belated beginning of Lent last year, I have fallen in love!
Orthodox Lent, having come through for me when I really needed it, now holds a special place in my heart. So I struggled this year: stick with Orthodox Lent, or move to the one most suited to my own cultural calendar?
Fortunately, Orthodox and Western Lent overlap so well for 2017 that I can transition with no separation anxiety.
Last year I gave up up doubting and negative views of God for Lent.
I tried to think of it as a fast, and to fill any little space I emptied of doubt with meditation on encouraging verses of scripture, and prayer for light, for help.
And you know what? It helped! A lot.
I’m still not the poster child for unshakable faith, and I still struggle with whether some good thing is ‘too much to ask’.
But I know a lot more now about how to work with God, and how to keep believing through the struggles, than I did a year ago. And I’m getting better at expecting the best and not the worst in my dealings with God.
Thinking well of God, if you will.
And spending 40 days focusing on something I value … heck, just spending 40 days FOCUSING … was such a gift.
So, I’m going on with my own little Lent observance! One day maybe I’ll get to where I do it ‘right’, but if not, I’m okay with that: doing it at all has changed me, in very positive ways.
For this next Lent, I’m going to just keep on this path toward fully trusting God: progress good, but much yet to be done.
I also want invite in anyone who could use a chance to step back and focus!
If you, like me, haven’t really ever had the blessing of Lent, take a chance on it!
Quick tip though: Since I’m still almost completely ignorant of ‘proper’ Lenten practice, if you’re the perfectionist type, definitely find a church that practices Lent and seek ‘learned’ input!
But, I found a neat little resource that I’m going to post from throughout the Lenten season, so if you want a simple, casual Lenten intro, come along.
The resource is the Revised Common Lectionary from Vanderbilt University.
“Revised Common Lectionary” – don’t liturgical churches have the BEST words?
And here’s what REALLY got me: I still don’t have a firm grasp of this whole Liturgical Calendar thing, but according to this Lectionary, the Bible readings for Lent start with Isaiah 58!
I am a complete sucker for Isaiah 58.
(The Lectionary also gives parts of Joel 2, and it’s great, so I don’t want to bias anyone, but … ISAIAH 58!) You could always read both. But if you’re only reading one… you know…. 😀
Isaiah 58 is like a super-condensed version of the entire Christian life. DEFINITLY in love with Isaiah 58.
But I digress.
So, throughout Lent I’ll be posting the verses, and the prayers for that day from the Lectionary, and maybe a question or a thought or something from my own reading or contemplation.
I’ll start that up next Wednesday, though I admit I’ve given away some of that one.
There aren’t verses for every day, but mainly for Sundays (which interestingly enough, appear to be holidays from Lent; curious folks these liturgicals) and the important milestones of Lent.
If you’re interested, come along! And no worries if you’re not.
I don’t understand how all this liturgical calendar stuff works, but I thought it was super cool that the one for Lent, for THIS TIME, focuses on things like Isaiah 58, and verses from the the New Testament that are so timely for this point at least in my life, and the life of my country that they seem hand picked for this year.
Very cool stuff indeed.