Lent Madness creator Tim Schenck has written a book titled Dust Bunnies in the Basket: Finding God in Lent and Easter (Forward Movement 2015). If you’re looking for the perfect Lenten gift (and who isn’t?) or just want to read something other than the 2016 Saintly Scorecard this Lent, we hope you’ll check it out (and by “check it out” we mean buy it for a mere $10).
Illustrated by popular priest and cartoonist Jay Sidebotham, Dust Bunnies in the Basket challenges us to go deeper this Lent, to “kick up some dust every now and then, to roll up our sleeves and get involved with the world and the people around us.” The book is ideal for personal reflection or seasonal study groups and includes thoughtful questions at the end of each section.
To give you a little foretaste, here’s a snippet. Actually, it’s the book’s Introduction…
The first Sunday of Lent is always awkward since we never quite know how to greet people. You can’t really say “Happy Lent,” and “Merry Lent” certainly doesn’t work. Nothing quite rolls off the tongue because we’re not always sure how to approach this season of spiritual preparation.
Lent is a very personal time of reflection and introspection as we examine our lives and our relationship with God, coming face-to-face with our own sinfulness and mortality. Lent is most fully experienced within the context of a worshiping community—we don’t enter into the season in isolation.
Still, this doesn’t answer our question of what to say to people at coffee hour. Fortunately, the Ash Wednesday liturgy gives us a clue. We are invited on behalf of the Church to the observance of a holy Lent. Not a successful or productive or guilt-ridden or dour or twig-eating Lent, but a holy Lent.
So, maybe that’s our answer. We can bid one another a holy Lent. This makes a lot more sense than wishing one another a happy Lent or even a gloomy Lent. This season of Lent is often misunderstood, and our confusion about how to greet one another at its start reflects the fact that we don’t always know how to approach it. Lent is not meant to be the Church’s season of depression. It’s not a time to walk around with sad faces, doing our best to look miserable. Sometimes we equate holiness with misery: the more miserable we are, the more holy we must be. But that’s not fair to the concept of holiness.
To be holy means to be set apart in a special way. A holy Lent is a joyful Lent because it draws us closer to the heart of God. It sets us apart, keeping us focused on the spiritual priorities of our lives and our single most important relationship—our relationship with God. It’s not a time to be overly grim but an opportunity to be drawn into ever-deepening relationship with the risen Christ. Yes, there may be painful moments in this. Introspection is never easy. But in our inadequacy and weakness, the loving grace of God shines ever more brightly.
So in this light, I bid you a holy Lent. I hope this book serves as a companion on your spiritual journey. At the end of each chapter, I’ve provided some questions to use for personal reflection or group study. I pray that the book and reflections help draw you ever closer to the God of compassion and mercy as we move through the wilderness into resurrection glory.