Invitation to a Holy Lent

ashwednesdayDear Friends,

Blessings to you all on this Ash Wednesday. While we like to have a lot of fun here at Lent Madness and occasionally engage in a bit of holy hyperbole, we’re always mindful of why we host Lent Madness. Learning about and being inspired by saintly lives is food for our respective journeys of life and faith. The season of Lent has a wonderful way of stripping everything down to its essentials and bringing us back to the basics of our faith.

We can learn much from those who have come before us as faithful witnesses to the Gospel. And they always seem to come back to this: “Love God, love neighbor.” Each one of these holy men and women did just that in their own time and in their own circumstances and they can inspire us to do the same in our own day. Like us, the saints weren’t perfect — but it’s freeing to remember that perfection isn’t the goal but faithfulness. Lent Madness helps make real these heroes of the faith by reminding us that they were living, breathing human beings not lifeless statues or distant figures immortalized yet immobilized in stained glass.

So as we stand at the cusp of another season of “madness” (it all begins tomorrow at 8:00 am EST), it’s important to take a step back to remember why we engage in this unique online devotion. Yes, Lent is a time for self-examination and repentance but the essence of Lent Madness is to remind us that Lent is also a time of joy. After all, what could be more joyful than a time specifically set aside to grow our individual and collective relationships with Jesus Christ?

Know that you are all in our prayers on this Ash Wednesday and we encourage you to attend today’s liturgy as an entrance into the season. Fortunately, the church has many “branch locations” spread throughout the world — check your local listings. Then reflect on these words from the Book of Common Prayer:

Dear People of God: The first Christians observed with great devotion the days of our Lord’s passion and resurrection, and it became the custom of the Church to prepare for them by a season of penitence and fasting. This season of Lent provided  a time in which converts to the faith were prepared for Holy  Baptism. It was also a time when those who, because of notorious sins, had been separated from the body of the faithful were reconciled by penitence and forgiveness, and restored to the fellowship of the Church. Thereby, the whole congregation was put in mind of the message of pardon and absolution set forth in the Gospel of our Savior, and of the need which all Christians continually have to renew their repentance and faith. I invite you, therefore, in the name of the Church, to the observance of a holy Lent, by self-examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting, and self-denial; and by reading and meditating on God’s holy Word. And, to make a right beginning  of repentance, and as a mark of our mortal nature, let us now kneel before the Lord, our maker and redeemer.

In Christ,

Tim and Scott
(AKA the Supreme Executive Committee of Lent Madness)

13 Comments to "Invitation to a Holy Lent"

  1. Laurie Atwater's Gravatar Laurie Atwater
    February 13, 2013 - 8:05 am | Permalink

    Well said. Thanks for this.

  2. February 13, 2013 - 8:10 am | Permalink

    Thanks – I’m looking forward to this, my sister in an enthusiast! Preparing for the readings for today’s mass I was reminded that this Lent business is a communal effort, not my own efforts, but the effort of the whole community to draw closer to Christ. So I’m looking forward to joining this ‘community’ of madness!

  3. Aleathia (Dolores) Nicholson's Gravatar Aleathia (Dolores) Nicholson
    February 13, 2013 - 8:30 am | Permalink

    Thanks for reminding us why LENT MADNESS came into being and is so popular. As has been so aptly stated, learning more about the outstanding saints and saints-in-waiting makes us aware that we are truly dust, as were they, and will return to dust, but while earth-bound, we can free ourselves by remembering that we are mortals who rejoice in a Creator who made, shaped and molded us to Love God by loving our neighbor…Whose ashes? Ultimately, our ashes as we strive to rise above and die to sin.

  4. February 13, 2013 - 8:53 am | Permalink

    Wonderful post to begin Lent and Lent Madness, beautifully written with great reminders about what who calls and what we’re called to do and be. Thank you. Bless you.

  5. Maggie Feczko's Gravatar Maggie Feczko
    February 13, 2013 - 10:07 am | Permalink

    I have had many chuckles with pre-lent madness posts. Today’s post was not full of guffaws, but
    was beautifully written with heart felt words about why we observe lent and love it so very much. Thank you.

  6. L. Norris's Gravatar L. Norris
    February 13, 2013 - 11:34 am | Permalink

    As I share my enthusiasm about Lent Madness, I suspect that there are folks who might think it irreverent but this invitation is an eloquent expression of why I am enthusiastic about Lent Madness. During my first Lent Madness last year, I was surprised by how thought-provoking the process was and am grateful for it. Thank you!

  7. Denyce Johnson's Gravatar Denyce Johnson
    February 13, 2013 - 12:38 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for the well written post about Lent and for reminding us that in the midst of the fun of Lent Madness there remains the more serious business of the Lenten season to be faithfully carried out. Tonight I will be dust but tomorrow morning joyfully voting for the saint of my choice !

  8. Denise Mulloy's Gravatar Denise Mulloy
    February 13, 2013 - 1:26 pm | Permalink

    I am personally struggling to enter into Lent this year, but will stay with it until inspiration kicks in.

  9. Dorothee's Gravatar Dorothee
    February 13, 2013 - 3:56 pm | Permalink

    Bless you both, it’s gonna be a great year.

  10. February 14, 2013 - 1:25 am | Permalink

    I am unable to access Lent Madness I have watched the video and am still clueless. Can you give better instructions than the ones posted here?.

  11. Robert's Gravatar Robert
    February 15, 2013 - 2:19 pm | Permalink

    This sounds like fun, but I’m a little fuzzy on the specifics. Does one completely fill out the bracket ahead of time, like in March Madness brackets? Or do you wait until each day to pick one, then see if you’re right on the following day? If it’s the former, I don’t know enough about some of the entrants to make a decision; reading about them on the day of their competition is how I learn and decide. But, if it’s the latter, it would seem to take a lot of the fun out of it. Just wondering. Thanks!

  12. becky smitley's Gravatar becky smitley
    February 16, 2013 - 8:16 pm | Permalink

    I have no idea of what you speaking…er typing. I love Holy Week…remembering as a grade-school student in downtown Uniontown, I would slip into the lunchtime services at local churches, sit in the back, and drink it all in…as best I could at that young age. I am interesting in observing…nay…celebrting Lent this year. May God bless you all!

  13. Bridget's Gravatar Bridget
    February 19, 2013 - 4:57 am | Permalink

    I would like to receive daily posts

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