Getting to the Heart of Lent

kid with ashesDear friends in Christ,

It is now customary for us to take a pause from the year-round Madness on this first day of Lent. While we hope everyone has a rich and varied experience of Lent and Lenten disciplines, we encourage everyone to savor the solemnity and, yes, penitence of Ash Wednesday.

George Herbert, English poet and Golden Halo winner in the first Lent Madness, wrote a glorious poem, "Lent." In that poem, he says this:

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.

So while we won't ever reach the full stature of Christ, as our prayer book puts it, we can benefit from whatever effort we manage. That's what Lent is about. This season certainly isn't about perfection, much less self-inflicted misery. Lent is about growing to be more Christlike.

Lent Madness, we hope, helps you in the journey, as you see that God has worked in women and men of all kinds, in all places, in all centuries. If God can work in them, God can work in us.

The heart of Lent is recommitting to our Christian journey. We do this not to earn God's favor, but in thankful response for God's grace.

For today, we hope you will find your way to a church. Hear the invitation to a holy Lent. Be reminded of your mortality, of the preciousness of life. Feast on Christ's presence in bread and wine. Savor the Word revealed in scripture.

Soon enough, it will be time for Lent Madness. Today there is the smudge of ash and the reminder of who we are.

Tim+     Scott+


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37 comments on “Getting to the Heart of Lent”

  1. The smudge of ash today will remind me that God can work in me, and I can become more Christlike. Thank you!

  2. Thank you for your beautiful and simply reminder of what Lent is all about.

  3. Thank you for your wise words. They give me a lot to think about on this holy day.

  4. Very nice. I'm heading to church at 7 pm tonight, and you have added to my experience. I'll keep your thoughts in mind.

  5. "...Savor the solemnity..." -- what a lovely expression, and so fitting today! Thank you!

  6. Inspired by Lent Madness, our church is playing "Lent Methodist Madness". Using 16 brackets,we have selected those men and women who have contributed to the Methodist movement. The final selection will "Wear the Methodist Mantle. Thanks for reminding us "if God can work in them, God can work in us"

  7. I thought Mary Magdalene won the Golden Halo in 2012. Was there Lent Madness before 2012? As a new fan of LM, I've been exploring the web site, and eagerly awaiting tomorrow!

    1. There was, I believe, one year of Lent Madness, including the Madness of Father Tim doing all the work himself, as I recall hearing.

  8. Thank you and Amen. I liked the poem and I was touched by your reflection. "We can benefit from whatever effort we manage. That’s what Lent is about... Lent is about growing to be more Christlike." A wonderful start to this journey!

  9. It's good to be back with Lent Madness. Last year I was dealing with the recent death of my husband of almost 46 years and just didn't have the heart for anything. I was moving, acting, living by rote. This year it is like a rebirth--I am interested inbeing alive. And supremely grateful to be alive. I anticipate this Lent to be the holiest I have experienced in many years, as I approach it with a thankful heart--for 46 mainly wonderful years, good friends who have ridden the roller coaster that this past two years has been and an ever strengthening faith that, in God's loving hands, all will be well. Thank you.

    1. Blessings, Kathi, and we're glad you're back with us. Thank you for sharing your story of deep faith amid the grief. Peace to you this Lent

  10. Thanks for these wise words, Tim and Scott. This year I am unable to leave my house on Ash Wednesday, but I have managed to read the daily office and even (tho' I'll be hearing it live on Sunday) the Great Litany, so the day has been a moving start to my Lenten journey. The verse of Scripture that has long meant the most to me: "For I am a stranger before thee and a sojourner, as all my fathers were." Lent keeps us on the straight path!

  11. We are joining you again this for the Lentmadness trek. My Aunt in California and I in Tennessee lookforward to learning with you about these wonderful saints and discussing our choice for our one vote. Neither one of us are picture phone people, so we do it the old fashioned way with our land lines. Thank your for the wonderful starting message. Jan and Sue