Welcome, dear feast of Lent

keep-calm-and-live-lent-2Every year on Ash Wednesday, it is the custom of Lent Madness to take a brief hiatus from our yearlong sojourn of silliness. We like to take this occasion to remind ourselves, and you, dear reader, of what we think this is all about.

The title of this blog post is taken from the opening line of George Herbert's exquisite poem, "Lent." In the poem, Herbert writes movingly about the invitation of Lent to embark on a holy journey to grow closer to God.

It's true, we cannot reach Christ’s fortieth day;
Yet to go part of that religious way,
Is better than to rest:
We cannot reach our Savior’s purity;
Yet are bid, Be holy ev’n as he.
In both let’s do our best.

This season of Lent is about the journey. We won't get it all right, but in trying, we will gain something for ourselves. Lent Madness is surely not the best Lenten discipline for everyone. As Tim reminds us regularly, Lent Madness is optional. Some will find here their very first encounter with the practice of a Lenten disciple, while others will discover that levity and saints do not sit well with their idea of Lent.

Above all, we must remember that this season is about recommitting to following Jesus, to follow him with lives of worship, prayer, study, and service to others. Lent invites us to set aside unimportant things and to focus on what matters most. We think that the ridiculous veneer of Lent Madness covers something much deeper and holier. Scott often reminds us that the Book of Common Prayer describes Lent as a season to "prepare with joy for the Paschal feast." And that's what we're doing. We are preparing with joy for the Easter feast, and for our eternal feast with all the saints.

So, dear friends, we invite you to the observance of a holy Lent. Partake in Lent Madness. Try some other disciplines. Spend this season in the company of fellow pilgrims as we grow ever closer to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. And know that you will be in our prayers on this day and throughout these next forty days and forty nights.

Tim+           Scott+
The Supreme Executive Committee of Lent Madness

Note: George Herbert was the first-ever Golden Halo winner (see this post from Tim's blog). Over on Scott's blog, named for another Herbert poem, he's got George Herbert's "Lent" with original spelling (read it here).


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26 comments on “Welcome, dear feast of Lent”

  1. Thanks, just what I needed to read and hear as I struggle with" what do with Lent' helped me to focus!

  2. Beautifully said. Thank you, Tim and Scott, for providing this wonderful discipline for the journey.

  3. Let the Madness begin! I have been anxiously awaiting this all year! +

  4. This was just what I needed as I was negotiating with myself over that perfect... But not too challenging Lenten observation.

  5. Thank you for this. It had exactly the right balance to begin the journey during my favorite season of the year.

  6. As a Baptist, still reeling from the discovery that "lent" is not a misspelling of the word for "stuff you find in the dryer, after you do a load of clothes," I'm excited to share this fresh journey with my non-Baptist, Christian brothers & sisters. Thanks for this!

  7. An anglo-phyle Methodist interloper here. Excited to share Lent Madness with my Episcopal first cousins in the faith. Thanks to my colleague and friend the Rev. Joy Segal of Gloria-Dei (Old Swedes) in Philadelphia, PA. Blesssed Lent to all.

  8. Great piece! Somehow feel relieved that I can be not do..Now graciously accept "invitation to observance of a holy Lent." Thank you!

  9. Thank you for a thoughtful, poetic meditation for this solemn, joyful day. Blessings to all as we begin this journey toward Easter.

  10. Thank you for your dedication to this work, for wedding silly to serious. And here's to a formational Lent Madness.

  11. The goal of Lent Madness, as I see it is to woo our wayward hearts back to God through Holy playfulness. Great companies and leaders know that without communal fun, no enterprise can thrive for long and the SEC are such leaders if I'm not mistaken. It is true that Lent has an austere component that we immature/playful/competitive Americans need to hear, but the Gospel comes to each culture through its innate channels.
    This is my first Lent Madness and I want to see how it goes before I recommend it to my missional/evangelical/Ancient faith leaning congregation. So, I was glad to be introduced to the Herbert poem and I hope the guest bloggers will share not only history of each saint but some faith practices we could experiment with based on their charism and story.

  12. Thank you for the time and effort all the LentMadness folks give us each year. It's much appreciated! P.S. Would someone please advise as to how to post a photo to LM?

  13. I'm in some conflict. The leaders of our home church, to which we returned when I retired from hospital chaplaincy, have suggested "unplugging" (giving up computer use) as an early Lenten discipline. Yet if I do that, I will miss Lent Madness and several wonderful spiritual treats provided by Methodist colleagues (Yes, I'm one of the first cousins). I'm struggling with a compromise, such as giving up some of my non-spiritual computer habits and/or curtailing the amount of time I spend online. I know that I have been using it too much to relieve the stress and depression of this horrible winter and being a retired clergy wondering how to serve God when unable to do much. Two things are clear: I am in desperate need of silliness! I know that God has a sense of humor. Love and peace from your sister in Christ, Lucy

    1. Several friends have given up Facebook! Will that work for you Lucy?
      I'm having a hard time giving up FB and the computer due to my freelance positions, need to be on both. Nothing else would be a sacrifice that I can think of.
      I've been caring for my 89 yr old Mother for the past 4 1/2 yrs and she now has gone into an alzheimer's facility so it's a matter of getting my life back and taking the time to get closer to God.

  14. According to a wise, holy and delightful priest friend of mine, in the Eastern Orthodox tradition the "A" word, "alleluia," is used more often as Lent goes forward and Easter becomes closer. Lent Madness captures this idea of joy as an integral part of this serious season of preparation and penitence. Thank you for this leavening influence; for me, Lent Madness is not optional.