Now is the Time: An Invitation to a Holy Lent

Dear friends in Christ,

Every year, even Lent Madness pauses on this one day. On Ash Wednesday, we set aside our silliness as we are reminded of our mortality and our need of salvation. This year, more than ever, our world needs Lent and its invitation to return to Jesus Christ.

kid with ashesWe live in a world that is gripped by fear and hatred. Too many of our national leaders seem intent on steering to the low road. Time seems to be in short supply as jobs, families, and various electronic gizmos compete for our attention. Now more than ever, we need Lent.

Lent is, above all else, an invitation to turn away from those things which keep us from following Jesus — and to turn toward those things which draw us closer to our Lord and savior. As St. Paul says, “Now is the acceptable time; see, now is the day of salvation!”

Now is the time for us to renounce fear, to reject hatred, and to take the more difficult high road. Now is the time to make space in our lives for prayer, study, and worship. Now is the time to look carefully at our lives and to open up our hearts to change. Thanks be to God, the church has given us an entire season to do just these things.

On Ash Wednesday, we are reminded of our mortality. It might seem gloomy, but in fact it is an invitation to savor this earthly life as a precious gift and to live it well. Jesus Christ wants us to have life and have it abundantly, and Ash Wednesday reminds us that we don’t really have that long to get to it. So let’s do that, shall we?

We hope Lent Madness will be helpful on your journey. Behind all the competition and humor, we see in the saints a group of women and men through whom Christ’s light burned brightly. They weren’t perfect, but they managed to open their hearts to change, to let God in. As you move through this year’s Saintly Smackdown, enjoy the community of fellow travelers who root for their saints as you root for yours. Learn what you can. Perhaps your prayer life will be enriched as you invite the saints in glory to pray with you.

Tomorrow, let the Madness begin. Today, get to church if you can. Hear the Gospel. Pray for God’s forgiveness. Receive the ashen cross on your forehead. And begin this season of repentance with an open heart.

We wish you every blessing of God’s gracious love this Lenten season.

Tim+      Scott+
The Supreme Executive Committee of Lent Madness

44 Comments to "Now is the Time: An Invitation to a Holy Lent"

  1. February 10, 2016 - 11:31 am | Permalink

    Thank you for creating this wonderful way to journey through Lent. I look forward to it!

    • Lera's Gravatar Lera
      February 10, 2016 - 12:07 pm | Permalink


  2. Laurie's Gravatar Laurie
    February 10, 2016 - 11:32 am | Permalink

    “Now is the time for us to renounce fear, to reject hatred, and to take the more difficult high road. Now is the time to make space in our lives for prayer, study, and worship. Now is the time to look carefully at our lives and to open up our hearts to change.”

    Thank you for this. I welcome Lent and all that it offers, and hope that I can accomplish all of these things.

  3. Patricia Cooper's Gravatar Patricia Cooper
    February 10, 2016 - 11:35 am | Permalink

    This will be my third adventure into Lent Maddness. Looking forward to it.

    I ordered the Christ Walk book and IAm planning to begin my pilgrimage.

  4. Susan Russell's Gravatar Susan Russell
    February 10, 2016 - 11:35 am | Permalink

    “Amen” from the Pasadena Amen Corner — along with all best blessings for a Holy Lent and Joyous Easter.

  5. Lindsay's Gravatar Lindsay
    February 10, 2016 - 11:41 am | Permalink

    Beautifully said. Thank you.

  6. Michael's Gravatar Michael
    February 10, 2016 - 11:42 am | Permalink

    Awesome way to begin lent. Thank you!

  7. February 10, 2016 - 11:42 am | Permalink

    Let the journey begin…

  8. Harry Alford's Gravatar Harry Alford
    February 10, 2016 - 11:50 am | Permalink

    Thank you

  9. February 10, 2016 - 11:52 am | Permalink

    Well said. This is my third journey with the Saints. Each year I learn more about the amazing people God has chosen to share His Message with the world.

  10. Richard Gatjens's Gravatar Richard Gatjens
    February 10, 2016 - 11:53 am | Permalink

    Lovely start to an exciting event. Let the Madness begin!!

  11. Joe Stroud's Gravatar Joe Stroud
    February 10, 2016 - 11:57 am | Permalink

    “Now is the time for us to renounce fear, to reject hatred, and to take the more difficult high road. ” It is soooo much easier to keep my blinders on, to NOT see that “the least of these,” one of those refugees who is “just waiting for the opportunity to blow me up,” the homeless guy/gal who distracts me from my “important” business, panhandles me, or otherwise interrupts my vitally important “mission du jour,” is a beloved child of God. Thank you Scott and Tim for so gently calling me out. Now, excuse me, Ash Wednesday service starts in about 20 minutes. I need to be there.

  12. Mary E. Winston's Gravatar Mary E. Winston
    February 10, 2016 - 11:59 am | Permalink

    Thank you for this reminder. It is difficult to take the high road but I am able to take the high road knowing I am in good company…All of you!

  13. February 10, 2016 - 12:00 pm | Permalink

    Well said. Lent for many reasons is my favorite liturgical season. It is a time that I set aside to nurture relationships with God, others, the community, and myself.

  14. Beth's Gravatar Beth
    February 10, 2016 - 12:02 pm | Permalink

    Well said, as always. Thanks for this – and for all you do to make the season of Lent a thin time and place.

  15. Beth's Gravatar Beth
    February 10, 2016 - 12:03 pm | Permalink

    Beautifully said, as always. Thanks for all you do to help make Lent a truly thin place and season.

  16. Patti V's Gravatar Patti V
    February 10, 2016 - 12:08 pm | Permalink

    So well said, I will get myself to church, partake in the ashes and physically remind myself of the true order of life. (Inspite of looming tax deadlines)

  17. Phil Kober's Gravatar Phil Kober
    February 10, 2016 - 12:16 pm | Permalink

    A loud and hearty, AMEN!!!!

  18. Corry W.'s Gravatar Corry W.
    February 10, 2016 - 12:32 pm | Permalink

    Thank you, and Amen!

  19. Carolyn Goredon's Gravatar Carolyn Goredon
    February 10, 2016 - 12:40 pm | Permalink

    First timer, here. I’m looking forward to this and other devotions during Lent.

  20. February 10, 2016 - 12:42 pm | Permalink

    Lent is-
    For me a good reminder of my commitment to Simplicity, stripping away the non-essentials, opening of spirit and heart on a direct communication with the Sacred One!
    Preparing for the continued deeper journey into God, through Our Lord.

  21. Chaplain Brent Hoy-Bianchi's Gravatar Chaplain Brent Hoy-Bianchi
    February 10, 2016 - 12:49 pm | Permalink

    May we all have a blessed Lent!

    BTW: In addition to the bracket doe you have a Lenten Madness Calendar like you had last year?

  22. Lorilee's Gravatar Lorilee
    February 10, 2016 - 12:56 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for the ‘Lent Madness’ Post. I’m going through a grea life upheaval, and this helped a lot.

  23. Sr. Brigidssm's Gravatar Sr. Brigidssm
    February 10, 2016 - 1:14 pm | Permalink

    amen thanks be to God. I enjoy this so much!

  24. Joyce Rush's Gravatar Joyce Rush
    February 10, 2016 - 1:17 pm | Permalink

    Thanks so much for this Ash Wednesday meditation!

  25. Mary Jo's Gravatar Mary Jo
    February 10, 2016 - 1:29 pm | Permalink

    Thank you very much for everything you do to bring us closer to our creator .

  26. Dorothee's Gravatar Dorothee
    February 10, 2016 - 1:29 pm | Permalink

    and also with you.

  27. February 10, 2016 - 1:32 pm | Permalink

    Just in time for Ash Wednesday my copy of Meeting Jesus at the Margins arrived in the office mail, as did my wall-sized bracket. Like many, I really need Lent this year. Thanks for this meditation – it spoke to my heart.

  28. Pamela Payne's Gravatar Pamela Payne
    February 10, 2016 - 1:34 pm | Permalink

    A well-written call to the holiness of Ash Wednesday. Will go to church as advised and look foward to meditating on the lives of the saints with all of you. Blessings for a holy Lent.

  29. aleathia (dolores) nicholson's Gravatar aleathia (dolores) nicholson
    February 10, 2016 - 2:05 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the reminder…..the reason for the season. It’s easy to get side-tracked in an effort to forget or bypass all the negatives surrounding us on a 27/7 basis. Had my ashes this morning thanks to a neighboring United Methodist Church….ashes are ashes…what they symbolize and how I will let them guide the Lenten behavior I know I should adopt/maintain is the issue. A contemplative and joyful (yes, be of good cheer!) Lent to you, one and all! Ready for LENT MADNESS @ daybreak !

  30. Kathy Schillreff's Gravatar Kathy Schillreff
    February 10, 2016 - 2:33 pm | Permalink

    Pope Francis has called for a fast from indifference to others, and a feast on love. Imagine a world in which people were not indifferent to others…
    Looking forward to another Lent Madness.
    I’m also campaigning for Monnica –the patron of my parish.

  31. beth landrum's Gravatar beth landrum
    February 10, 2016 - 2:34 pm | Permalink

    Today we honor where we come from, and meditate our brokenness,our death and future life. Iook foward to getting to know our saints and Learning of their ex explenary life’s.

  32. Rev. Bill McCleery (retired)'s Gravatar Rev. Bill McCleery (retired)
    February 10, 2016 - 2:42 pm | Permalink

    Thanks, Tim and Scott, for reminding us through Lent Madness to not take ourselves too seriously, but to take our relationship with God very seriously. It encourages me to know that you guys, representing the younger generation, are leading TEC in the right direction as part of the Jesus Movement.

  33. Lesley's Gravatar Lesley
    February 10, 2016 - 2:43 pm | Permalink


  34. Linda from St. Ed's's Gravatar Linda from St. Ed's
    February 10, 2016 - 2:45 pm | Permalink

    Amen! A very blessed Lent to you all.

  35. Nancy Larkin's Gravatar Nancy Larkin
    February 10, 2016 - 3:19 pm | Permalink

    Beautifully expressed! Thank you, and may you have a Holy Lent!

  36. Ann H's Gravatar Ann H
    February 10, 2016 - 3:30 pm | Permalink

    Kyrie eleison.
    Christe eleison.
    Kyrie eleison.

  37. Bernadette Hartsough's Gravatar Bernadette Hartsough
    February 10, 2016 - 3:51 pm | Permalink

    Amen-We need lent!

  38. Harriet's Gravatar Harriet
    February 10, 2016 - 4:55 pm | Permalink

    Beautiful message. Thank you!

  39. Elaine Hood Culver's Gravatar Elaine Hood Culver
    February 10, 2016 - 6:46 pm | Permalink

    This old school mouse is reminded of the Hebrew and Greek words for repentance: Greek, meaning change of mind, which should lead to a change of heart and a change for the better in the way we live, and Hebrew, shuv (long u), meaning to do a 180 in the way we relate to God and our fellow human beings, and the way we live. As our professor at the University of Dallas in the 1980s, Dr. Bernard Batto, used to say, “It’s time to shuv and get your chesed (guttural ch – it helps to spit, and it means covenant loyalty) together.” Amen!

  40. Bill L.'s Gravatar Bill L.
    February 10, 2016 - 7:21 pm | Permalink

    Thank you so much for this encouraging message!

  41. Lucia Ann McSpadden's Gravatar Lucia Ann McSpadden
    February 10, 2016 - 8:37 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for the spiritual reflection on Ash Wednesday and throughout Lent. You inspire me to meditate, reflect and then act.

  42. Suzanne Mann's Gravatar Suzanne Mann
    February 10, 2016 - 8:41 pm | Permalink

    Was moved by the Lenten message the first time I read it – the second time, too. Will keep this one to read and re-read again and again. Thank you for such a beautiful reminder of what the Lenten season is really all about.

  43. andrea's Gravatar andrea
    February 10, 2016 - 11:21 pm | Permalink

    Thank you and Amen! Your message helped me a lot. This is a wonderful way to begin the Lenten journey with fellow pilgrims! Blessings for a Holy Lent to all!!

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