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.

kid with ashesAt 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


This post is a reprise of our Ash Wednesday post from 2015. In honor of the Tenth Anniversary of Lent Madness, we’ll be bringing you some classic content throughout this commemorative season. Hey, it was either this or sell you #LentMadnessX trinkets. You’re welcome.

54 Comments to "Lent is an Invitation"

  1. March 6, 2019 - 9:57 am | Permalink

    Good one. Thanks.

  2. Maryann Fischer's Gravatar Maryann Fischer
    March 6, 2019 - 9:59 am | Permalink

    Thank you for this wonderful message!
    Keep a holy Lent. ✝️

  3. Johanne Hills's Gravatar Johanne Hills
    March 6, 2019 - 10:00 am | Permalink

    Beautiful beginning words and ideas…..good thoughts deserve a second run!

    • Linda Burnett's Gravatar Linda Burnett
      March 6, 2019 - 11:31 am | Permalink

      Amen! and let the journey begin.

  4. Anita's Gravatar Anita
    March 6, 2019 - 10:01 am | Permalink

    Ready for this year’s Lent Madness have done well the past few years

  5. March 6, 2019 - 10:02 am | Permalink

    Excellent. Blessings on this Holy Day.

  6. Adelaide Kent's Gravatar Adelaide Kent
    March 6, 2019 - 10:05 am | Permalink

    Blessings to all for a holy Lent!

  7. Sylvia Temmer's Gravatar Sylvia Temmer
    March 6, 2019 - 10:05 am | Permalink

    Excellent and loving reminder of our mortality and reasons for observing Lent.

  8. Deirdre McElroy's Gravatar Deirdre McElroy
    March 6, 2019 - 10:06 am | Permalink

    Kent Madness is here to remind me to take time off and pray. Thank you.

  9. Diane Sawyer's Gravatar Diane Sawyer
    March 6, 2019 - 10:10 am | Permalink

    Blessings to all in this new Lenten season for 2019.
    Another year of Lent Madness to begin.
    Thank you to Tim and Scott and all who participated in making this another year of learning.
    This is my 4th or 5th year.

  10. Dallas Heikkinen's Gravatar Dallas Heikkinen
    March 6, 2019 - 10:14 am | Permalink

    Your words have lifted the worry from me. Especially the worry I have about our priest and her helpers in the 10 degree weather giving ashes to go at the train station.

  11. Laura J. Schomberg's Gravatar Laura J. Schomberg
    March 6, 2019 - 10:17 am | Permalink

    Happy 10th anniversary.

  12. Beth's Gravatar Beth
    March 6, 2019 - 10:20 am | Permalink

    Well said. I never really thought of the saints as flawed… they’re SAINTS after all. It’s a good thing to keep in front of me this season.

  13. Phil Matthews's Gravatar Phil Matthews
    March 6, 2019 - 10:39 am | Permalink

    Ome’s mind thinks of Saints as having the ability to do God’s work, yet not have the inner power and discipline to rise above the human frailties and temptations. One is apt to see the flaws before they did God’s work, and be motivated that one can overcome one’s weaknesses and flaws, and do good. But the reality is that many Saints have done many good things while having blemishes. I suspect that we will be tested when we vote this season to vote for the good and be concerned more about the blemishes at times in Theo there Saint we do not vote for. But in a a Lenten Madness vote its a choice of voting for “the more of two goods “ as opposed to a political election of voting for “the lesser of evils.” That’s a transformation of looking for the good that others can do and not the flaws within. If one were to review the twelve apostles one can see that Jesus saw just that.

  14. Jerri's Gravatar Jerri
    March 6, 2019 - 10:40 am | Permalink

    A time to repent so we can rejoice.

  15. John Miller's Gravatar John Miller
    March 6, 2019 - 11:02 am | Permalink

    A sobering reminder of how we all are eventually dust. Today, I was reminded of my mortality when I read of the death of another hs classmate–something that becomes more regular as the years slip by. I always thank God for that great cloud of witnesses who even in death have inspired and supported me lo these many years.

    • Ginny Berkey's Gravatar Ginny Berkey
      March 6, 2019 - 11:21 am | Permalink

      Ten years already. May we all strive for a Holy Lent and growth in our understanding of what each of us needs to continue our journey with Christ.

  16. Don Dozier's Gravatar Don Dozier
    March 6, 2019 - 11:20 am | Permalink

    This is my first time to participate. Where do I vote? Thank you

    • Tessa Lucero's Gravatar Tessa Lucero
      March 6, 2019 - 2:36 pm | Permalink

      Don, you’re in the right place, the voting starts tomorrow. There will be a post with a short introduction of each saint and then a vote button at the bottom. Welcome to the seasonal saintly smackdown!

  17. Katrina S Soto's Gravatar Katrina S Soto
    March 6, 2019 - 11:37 am | Permalink

    Great way to start off Ash Wednesday. Thank you. And also thank you for the beautiful printable Bracket chart. It will grace my home office for 40 days and 40 nights (plus the Sundays, of course)
    Happy Lent

  18. Gerti Garner's Gravatar Gerti Garner
    March 6, 2019 - 11:45 am | Permalink

    Your message this morning is a great beginning to Lent. Thank you!

  19. Peter Hoffman's Gravatar Peter Hoffman
    March 6, 2019 - 11:49 am | Permalink

    Again, I’ve been challenged to stop, look, and listen. Thanks

  20. Ruth's Gravatar Ruth
    March 6, 2019 - 11:56 am | Permalink

    So another year has gone by. I am looking forward to this round of Lent Madness.

  21. Geoffrey Pratt's Gravatar Geoffrey Pratt
    March 6, 2019 - 12:01 pm | Permalink

    Looking forward to the Lent Madness journey this year. Thank you for additional the enjoyment of Lent!

  22. Geoffrey Pratt's Gravatar Geoffrey Pratt
    March 6, 2019 - 12:02 pm | Permalink

    Looking forward to the Lent Madness journey this year. Thank you for adding to the enjoyment of Lent!

  23. Geoffrey Pratt's Gravatar Geoffrey Pratt
    March 6, 2019 - 12:04 pm | Permalink

    Looking forward to the Lent Madness journey this year. Thank you for adding to the enjoyment of Lent!
    I have not posted a comment before!

    • Candace Margolin's Gravatar Candace Margolin
      March 6, 2019 - 4:41 pm | Permalink

      I think the basic message here applies to all religions!

  24. Peter DICAPUA's Gravatar Peter DICAPUA
    March 6, 2019 - 12:34 pm | Permalink

    Many, Many Thanks,

  25. Ann Cooper's Gravatar Ann Cooper
    March 6, 2019 - 1:15 pm | Permalink

    Amen and thank you–for this and the Madness.

  26. March 6, 2019 - 1:19 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for a lovely opening – But, as always, much of the joy of Lent Madness comes from the thoughtful comments from the community – God bless us all on the journey . . .


  27. Jane Bucci's Gravatar Jane Bucci
    March 6, 2019 - 1:20 pm | Permalink

    I wandered from my Presbyterian roots through the doors of the Episcopal Church in 2009, and my searching heart sat down. Lent Madness was introduced to me during my first Lenten journey within the Episcopal Church and has continued to provide new dimensions to the experience year after year. Thank you fellow pilgrims, be blessed and let the madness begin!

  28. Linnea DeJaager's Gravatar Linnea DeJaager
    March 6, 2019 - 2:24 pm | Permalink

    I am very grateful for finding Lent Madness last night at a Mardi Gras celebration in the neighborhood church nextdoor.
    I had already committed to a more faithful observance of Lent, through meditation and reflection, prayer, and both the “give up” and “take on” actions, but I needed this most joyful of daily devotions to give me help and direction in my renewed aspirations. Thank you.

  29. Virginia Nagel's Gravatar Virginia Nagel
    March 6, 2019 - 3:02 pm | Permalink

    I am thankful to have seen this essay. I am also thankful for today’s reading in the book by Robert Wright of “Readings for the Daily Offices, ” and I am suoer-thankful for being able to attend the noon Ash Wednesday service at church. The three combine to give me a good start to Lent.

    By the way, I ordered the Lenten Madness 2019 booklet from Forward, along with my Leben readings. The books car but the Lenten Madness pamphlet never showed up and was not listed on the invouce. I would appreciate it if someone could find out what happened to my Lenten Madness scirecard/pamphlet of the saintly candidates….pretty please? Thank you.

  30. Virginia Nagel's Gravatar Virginia Nagel
    March 6, 2019 - 3:05 pm | Permalink

    In my earlier post, the automatic proofreader produced a typo. The books I ordered CAME, (not car) but the Lenten Madness pamphlet did not. Thanks….

  31. James Lodwick's Gravatar James Lodwick
    March 6, 2019 - 3:25 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for reminding us of the purpose of Lent Madness, and indeed of the purpose of Lent itself. A very good message!

  32. Mary Heausler's Gravatar Mary Heausler
    March 6, 2019 - 3:43 pm | Permalink

    Very well written and poignant! Thank you. Let the “madness” begin!

  33. March 6, 2019 - 3:55 pm | Permalink

    Ashes, ashes,
    we all fall down.
    But not yet
    and not now
    nor scattered on the wind,
    ’till, yet commingled
    with all whom we loved
    and have been loved by,
    we rise.

    • Lucy Porter's Gravatar Lucy Porter
      March 6, 2019 - 5:28 pm | Permalink

      Thank you for this reminder.

    • LOIS Strait's Gravatar LOIS Strait
      March 7, 2019 - 4:54 am | Permalink

      i thought to live by

  34. Rev. Lucy Porter's Gravatar Rev. Lucy Porter
    March 6, 2019 - 5:26 pm | Permalink

    As I’m still recovering from a broken hip (which occurred in August), I won’t go through the snow to church tonight. However, I look forward to the annual gathering of saints from many different churches, and/or parts of churches, that is Lent Madness. Following the recent General Conference of our United Methodist Church, my sore heart and brain need this comfort and challenge. Thank you for this invitation!

  35. March 6, 2019 - 5:39 pm | Permalink

    Even though the wife of a now deceased Episcopal priest, I admit to having annually gotten too involved in Duke’s March Madness…so this year, with the help of Lent Madness, I intend to live a (more) holy Lent. Thank you all for your support.

  36. DyLynn Robertson's Gravatar DyLynn Robertson
    March 6, 2019 - 6:38 pm | Permalink


  37. March 6, 2019 - 7:29 pm | Permalink

    wishing everyone blessings other Lenten Journey.

  38. Sally Duernberger's Gravatar Sally Duernberger
    March 6, 2019 - 7:57 pm | Permalink

    Thank you.

  39. Sandi Lanzarotta's Gravatar Sandi Lanzarotta
    March 6, 2019 - 8:26 pm | Permalink

    You xan post this every year and the message will never fade. Looking forward …. always with Christ. FHS

  40. Cindy Schuricht's Gravatar Cindy Schuricht
    March 6, 2019 - 9:35 pm | Permalink

    Thank you. I started the morning with church and ashes and now the evening with your post. A holy Lent is begun . . . and thanks to you, it will also be a humorous holy Lent.

  41. andrea's Gravatar andrea
    March 6, 2019 - 9:39 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for this thoughtful message.
    And for all the Madness. Blessings to all for a Holy Lent!

  42. Lynne's Gravatar Lynne
    March 6, 2019 - 10:37 pm | Permalink

    Great idea!

  43. Bea's Gravatar Bea
    March 7, 2019 - 12:16 am | Permalink

    Dear Tim and Scott,

    I so enjoy your God-gifted creative talent, along with your worldly wit and heavenly humor, making Lent Madness fun and educational for all who participate in it ….and who knows, when each of you are commemorated as Saints many, many years from now, perhaps you too will be competing for the coveted prize of The Golden Halo. In the meantime keep yourselves occupied with selling novelty trinkets and Lent Madness mugs. LOL

    Love you both …and let the Holy Season of Lent Madness begin !

    • Kathy in Nicaragua's Gravatar Kathy in Nicaragua
      March 7, 2019 - 12:49 pm | Permalink

      And that future SEC will no doubt pit Tim vs Scott in the first round!

  44. Carol Haraden's Gravatar Carol Haraden
    March 7, 2019 - 7:46 am | Permalink

    As a recent cancer patient experiencing cancer for the second time, the ‘dust to dust’ pronouncement was especially poignant this year. I am sure I have ‘heard’ it before but this time, it certainly gave me pause to think in new ways about the remainder of my life, how ever long that might be.

  45. Judy Blue's Gravatar Judy Blue
    March 7, 2019 - 10:24 am | Permalink

    It was beautifully, lovingly written in 2015 and holds its promise in 2019

  46. Elizabeth's Gravatar Elizabeth
    March 7, 2019 - 1:18 pm | Permalink

    “Give up those things which keep you away from Jesus.” For a lot of people who write, preach, speak to audiences, it is the hubris of thinking they owe the world an original thought each time they are called upon. Letting go of this assumption enables one to give the effort to some other aspect of God’s work.

  47. Mary Pankow's Gravatar Mary Pankow
    March 9, 2019 - 3:48 am | Permalink

    Please add me to your list.

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