Lent is an Invitation

Dear friends in Christ,

On this one day a year, even Lent Madness pauses to reflect on our life, our blessings, and our mortality. The entire season of Lent is an invitation to recommit to following Jesus. This day, Ash Wednesday, is a poignant reminder that life is short. We are meant to savor our earthly life and to live it well.

At the end of life, few people regret not having worked more, nor do they wish they had spent more money on stuff. In fact, end of life regrets usually revolve around love. “I wish I had spent more time with my family. I wish I had forgiven the person who wronged me. I wish I had been a more faithful Christian.”

Ash WednesdayWhen we kneel before the altar and hear the words, “Remember you are dust, and to dust you shall return,” we are reminded that we are mortal. We should not delay our decision to repent, to live more fully, to follow Jesus more faithfully.

Aside from the ridiculous competition and constant silliness of Lent Madness, we hope everyone who takes part will notice something about each of the saints. Every single one of the saints was a flawed human. You might be used to seeing them in stained glass or in marble, but they were living, breathing, messed up people not so different from us. And yet, each one of these saints managed to allow God’s grace to work in them such that Christ’s light shone brightly in their lives. They were witnesses to the world of the transforming love of Jesus Christ.

Over the course of this year’s Lent Madness, you will meet 32 new saintly companions. Perhaps they will inspire you to follow Jesus in new ways, so that you can be a witness of the Good News of God in Christ. Perhaps you will invite the saints to pray for you, for they are also companions with us in our earthly pilgrimage. You see, beneath the silliness of the saintly smackdown, there lies a brighter, deeper truth in God’s grace at work in the world.

This Lenten season, we invite you to draw closer to our Lord Jesus. Give up those things which keep you away from Jesus. Take on those things that bring you closer to Jesus. We hope Lent Madness is helpful on your journey.

We wish you every blessing in this Lenten season.

Tim+           Scott+

The Supreme Executive Committee

44 Comments to "Lent is an Invitation"

  1. Mike's Gravatar Mike
    February 18, 2015 - 8:09 am | Permalink


  2. February 18, 2015 - 8:25 am | Permalink


  3. TJ's Gravatar TJ
    February 18, 2015 - 8:31 am | Permalink

    Amen indeed!

  4. Jo's Gravatar Jo
    February 18, 2015 - 8:50 am | Permalink

    Amen. Last year was the first time I had heard of Lent Madness, I enjoyed it immensely. It was quite an education while revealing Halo’s come in many versions. Collective message for me was just offer Love, your gifts can always be useful to someone.

    • Ann's Gravatar Ann
      February 18, 2015 - 12:04 pm | Permalink


  5. Matt's Gravatar Matt
    February 18, 2015 - 8:55 am | Permalink

    What a wonderful way to start this Lenten season. I too just learned of Lent Madness last year and it was such a meaningful practice (with lots of laughs thrown in too!). Thank you!

  6. Lyn Sims's Gravatar Lyn Sims
    February 18, 2015 - 9:01 am | Permalink

    May the light of Christ shine on us all.

  7. Joyce's Gravatar Joyce
    February 18, 2015 - 9:11 am | Permalink

    On Shrove Tues 2014, my husband was pushing our mower cutting our grass here in SE FL. He was hit by a passing car, air lifted to a trauma center and my Ash Wed 2014 was unlike any before. Never has “Dust thou Art and to dust thou shall return’ ever meant so very much. Ash Wed. I served as an acolyte at the 10 am service, where else should I be? They had him in a drug induced coma… and was finally sent home from rehab on Maundy Thurs of all Days, he’d been in the Trauma ICU, then Trauma Ward, then for 3 weeks in the rehab facility – Thanks be to God, that God didn’t call him home, rather God
    sent him back to the vineyard to do the work he has been give to do.

    • Patsy's Gravatar Patsy
      February 18, 2015 - 9:32 pm | Permalink

      Oh, Joyce, what an experience. How God worked such grace and healing in the life of your husband! I am awed by your story.

  8. Kathleen Sheehy's Gravatar Kathleen Sheehy
    February 18, 2015 - 9:11 am | Permalink

    Let’s begin the journey.

  9. Joyce Spangler's Gravatar Joyce Spangler
    February 18, 2015 - 9:24 am | Permalink

    Mary Magdalene mug came out of storage this morning. She’s ready for Lent Madness, too

    • Mary UK's Gravatar Mary UK
      February 18, 2015 - 9:53 am | Permalink

      so did Charlie Wesley

  10. Betsy's Gravatar Betsy
    February 18, 2015 - 9:26 am | Permalink

    Discovering Lent Madness in 2014 was a real treasure that I’m looking forward to this year. In addition to being something to give me a good laugh each day, it’s also a mandate to focus on what it means to go through Lent day-by-day. God really gave you what my goddaughter once called “the genious thing.”

  11. Reggie Williams's Gravatar Reggie Williams
    February 18, 2015 - 9:31 am | Permalink

    Amen and thanks be to God!

  12. Joe Stroud's Gravatar Joe Stroud
    February 18, 2015 - 9:34 am | Permalink

    Scott and Tim (and all companions on this journey), The thing I most appreciate about the “saintly smackdown” is learning about these “flawed human(s)” who preceded us and who still inspire us despite (or is it because of?) their “flaws.” I am not much on the trite cliches that we so often hear, but thank you, SEC, for another reminder that God does not call the equipped, He equips the called (i.e., ALL of us)! Let’s begin the journey, indeed.

    • sue's Gravatar sue
      February 18, 2015 - 9:50 pm | Permalink

      that God does not call the equipped, He equips the called (i.e., ALL of us)! Let’s begin the journey, indeed. I
      I really like that thought! Thank you!

  13. Tom Van Brunt's Gravatar Tom Van Brunt
    February 18, 2015 - 9:39 am | Permalink

    Thanks for Lent Madness. It is a great gift to us all. St. Mary Magdalene Episcopal church and Deerfield United Methodist Church who share a building in Warren County, Ohio, will be playing this game together.

  14. Jean Scott's Gravatar Jean Scott
    February 18, 2015 - 9:42 am | Permalink

    Blessings, all you mad Lenten saints with a small “s”! Embrace the journey.

  15. February 18, 2015 - 10:06 am | Permalink

    So I’ve known about Lent Madness since it started, but I was just *too busy* to follow along. Until last year. While I didn’t fill out those bracket thingies, I did read most of the posts each morning and laughed and learned and made my way through Lent with a smile on my face. It’s exactly what I needed! I appreciate all your work, good humor and gentle satire. Thank you Tim and Scott and your team. Bless you. I think God is encouraging me to lighten up to become more of who God wants me to be. Besides, how can we lose if we’re laughing *and* learning?

  16. Rebecca Saager's Gravatar Rebecca Saager
    February 18, 2015 - 10:16 am | Permalink

    Amen and thank you. I am snowed in and for the first time in many, many years will not make it to a Ash Wednesday service.

  17. Katrina's Gravatar Katrina
    February 18, 2015 - 10:18 am | Permalink

    Thank you for writing such meaningful, insightful words. What a wonderful reminder of the purpose of saints and how they function in our lives.

  18. Carol Virginia's Gravatar Carol Virginia
    February 18, 2015 - 10:33 am | Permalink

    Tim and Scott and Friends together on this journey, especially Joyce today, thank you for sharing. You light up our lives and give rise to the hope of keeping organized religion relevant. Thank you for lighting up our lives. Let the games begin!…with Love….and Fun!

  19. Ann Shelly's Gravatar Ann Shelly
    February 18, 2015 - 10:34 am | Permalink

    It is a wonderful reminder!

  20. Sally's Gravatar Sally
    February 18, 2015 - 10:39 am | Permalink

    Informed about this by former rector. Sounds like a fun journey & looking forward to it. Thanks Celine.

  21. Sandra Phelps's Gravatar Sandra Phelps
    February 18, 2015 - 10:53 am | Permalink

    Thank you. Good thots. I am late to the Episcopal world and at first was hesitant about ‘saints’. Followed Lent Madness last year and look forward to it this year. Good to learn about the people — flawed and otherwise, smile.

  22. Terry Francis's Gravatar Terry Francis
    February 18, 2015 - 11:00 am | Permalink


  23. Nancy Ann's Gravatar Nancy Ann
    February 18, 2015 - 11:00 am | Permalink

    Thank you for reminding me what this time of year should be.

  24. Joan Joseph's Gravatar Joan Joseph
    February 18, 2015 - 11:17 am | Permalink

    Beautifully said. This is exactly why so many have found “Lent Madness” so inspiring.

  25. Mary Jane Ingalls Buchanan's Gravatar Mary Jane Ingalls Buchanan
    February 18, 2015 - 11:18 am | Permalink

    Thinking in spiritual terms helps keep me rooted in my earthly life.

  26. Chelle's Gravatar Chelle
    February 18, 2015 - 11:26 am | Permalink

    Thank you for the reminder to rely more fully on God’s grace and to live more fully into the moment.

  27. A Different Jennifer's Gravatar A Different Jennifer
    February 18, 2015 - 11:44 am | Permalink

    Kudos to the Bracket Czar on the Match-Up Calendar design. It seems new and improved.

  28. February 18, 2015 - 12:10 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for inviting me on the journey. Discovered you last year and this year plan to be with you for every step (just not organized enough yet to have my brackets in hand).

  29. Randall Byrd's Gravatar Randall Byrd
    February 18, 2015 - 12:12 pm | Permalink

    Amen, and well said

  30. B.D.'s Gravatar B.D.
    February 18, 2015 - 1:22 pm | Permalink

    Bring on the Lent “Glad”ness!

  31. Katie Banaszak's Gravatar Katie Banaszak
    February 18, 2015 - 1:49 pm | Permalink

    This will be my first year with “Lent Madness”, I’m looking forward to learning more about the Saints-after all, we are all called to be Saints!

  32. February 18, 2015 - 1:52 pm | Permalink

    A bevy of women saints have been in my life for a long time. I’ve written their prayers, meditated with them, painted them and now am creating a retreat: Kissed by God: Holy Women Create! Even including information on how lots of them got into trouble, eg. the Inquisition – Joan of Arc…I look forward to 32 days of Lent with you and the saints, our foremothers and fathers…

  33. Michael Cunningham's Gravatar Michael Cunningham
    February 18, 2015 - 2:00 pm | Permalink

    Thank you! That was the perfect way to begin this season of self-reflection.

  34. Heath's Gravatar Heath
    February 18, 2015 - 2:41 pm | Permalink

    I would say “Every single one of the saints with the notable exception of Our Lady was a flawed human.”

    • Scott Elliott's Gravatar Scott Elliott
      February 18, 2015 - 3:02 pm | Permalink

      IIRC, Our Lady is, by Lent Madness rule, off-limits. So we need not concern ourselves with Immaculate Conception.

  35. Heidi Shott's Gravatar Heidi Shott
    February 18, 2015 - 3:55 pm | Permalink

    Having stepped down as a Celebrity Blogger, my Lent will be exceedingly less “mad” this year compared to the past three years. I’m grateful to be playing from the sidelines but cheering you and all the saints on just the same. And if a long shot saint improbably pulls ahead, you can be sure I’ll do my best to help the dark horse win.

  36. Robin's Gravatar Robin
    February 18, 2015 - 4:11 pm | Permalink

    “Forward Ho”, I can’t remember really ever looking forward to Lent, thank you for the inspiring words and lighting the desire to learn more on this faith-filled journey!

  37. Carol Anderson's Gravatar Carol Anderson
    February 18, 2015 - 5:04 pm | Permalink

    Got my ashes today at noon, and am ready for this thing to lift off!!!

  38. Lucy Porter's Gravatar Lucy Porter
    February 18, 2015 - 6:29 pm | Permalink

    I think last year was my first with Lent Madness, and I’m still elated that my fellow Methodist, Charles Wesley, won the Golden Halo! Thank you for this first post, SEC. My home church, Christ Church United Methodist in Manhattan (NYC), has two series today; we attended the one at 12:30 PM and have been wearing big black crosses on our foreheads ever since. Before my 15-year service as a hospital chaplain, no Methodist church I ever heard of was imposing ashes at the Ash Wed. service. I learned to “do” ashes at the hospital and found the practice growing in meaning. Now many Methodist churches are using them, and I hope others are finding it a blessing. A blessed Lent to all!

  39. Susan McCulloch's Gravatar Susan McCulloch
    February 18, 2015 - 8:06 pm | Permalink

    So happy to be here. I’m grateful to Heather McCance for the link.

Comments are closed.