Always Resurrection

“It is winter in Narnia,” said Mr. Tumnus, “and has been for ever so long…always winter, but never Christmas.” In the imaginative writing of Golden Halo 2011 winner C. S. Lewis, Narnia was in the grip of what seemed like an endlessly grim winter. It’s not hard for us to grasp this image as the United States is largely covered with snow and filled with shivering people in the midst of a pandemic.

flowers in snow

In the church, one would be forgiven for thinking it’s always Lent and never Easter. Last year’s Lent started pretty normally, but most churches closed to in-person worship before Holy Week. We started a Lenten journey that it may well seem we never finished. In the last year, we’ve been worn down by a pandemic that has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives. Our normal patterns and beloved customs are disrupted.

One may wonder if we’re in the grip of an endlessly grim Lent as we start anew our Lenten journey. After all, the previous Lent never seems to have ended. No matter how we celebrate Easter, or even if we skip it entirely, nothing can change the fact that the tomb was empty one morning long ago in ancient Jerusalem. We can’t be sure what this year’s Easter will look like. But we can be sure that Christians around the world will find ways to celebrate the triumph of Jesus Christ over evil, of love over sin, of life over death.

Jesus frees us from the grip of sin, and he certainly frees us from the grip of an endlessly grim Lenten journey.

At Lent Madness, we are fond of reminding people that Lent is not about misery, though it may sometimes be about fasting and self-denial. During the holy season of Lent, we “prepare with joy for the Paschal feast” as we turn our hearts and our lives toward Jesus. In that way, even in Lent, we are always suffused with joy.

This Ash Wednesday will be unlike any other. You may not even receive ashes. Fortunately, the real centerpiece of Ash Wednesday — despite the name — is not the mark of our mortality, but the invitation to a holy Lent, the litany of penitence, and the recitation of Psalm 51.

There are three verses of Psalm 51 that stand out to us as important this year as we contemplate the start of another Lenten journey.

Create in me a clean heart, O God, *
and renew a right spirit within me.

Cast me not away from your presence *
and take not your holy Spirit from me.

Give me the joy of your saving help again *
and sustain me with your bountiful Spirit.

Today we step back from the usual silliness of Lent Madness to invite you to a holy Lent. Let us all pray that we might know the joy of God’s saving help and the power of God’s bountiful Spirit. By God’s mighty grace, there is always Resurrection.

Wishing you a blessed Lenten journey,
Tim+   Scott+

Photo by flickr user Henna K.

44 Comments to "Always Resurrection"

  1. Margaret Trenkle's Gravatar Margaret Trenkle
    February 17, 2021 - 8:11 am | Permalink

    Thank you. Very beautiful and so true.

  2. Martha Richards,'s Gravatar Martha Richards,
    February 17, 2021 - 8:19 am | Permalink

    Thank you – have a truly holy and blessed Lenten Season.

  3. Ginny Slichter's Gravatar Ginny Slichter
    February 17, 2021 - 8:27 am | Permalink

    Beautiful. Just what I needed to hear as we wait for another winter storm and sing digit temps.

  4. Dorothée's Gravatar Dorothée
    February 17, 2021 - 8:37 am | Permalink

    God bless you, Tim and Scott, with a Holy Lent.

  5. Rupert's Gravatar Rupert
    February 17, 2021 - 8:46 am | Permalink

    Thanks for reminding me/us what Lent is really about. A loving God reminding us to know who He is and the Grace he gives us to be always in his service

  6. Louise G Clarke's Gravatar Louise G Clarke
    February 17, 2021 - 8:47 am | Permalink

    Lent is not about misery. Thank you so much for this reminder.
    So if not misery, what? Maybe about anticipation? In my very visual way of meditating I see the road forking in front of me. The smaller road is more intriguing, less traveled so to speak, or maybe more narrow, maybe promising some discoveries, leading to a larger life. So, if not misery, maybe adventure, maybe a trip away from my normal rounds of doing things. Maybe writing/journaling more, reading those spiritual practice books that I buy and leave half read. Thanks again.

    • Gail Adams's Gravatar Gail Adams
      February 17, 2021 - 1:07 pm | Permalink

      Beautiful. That old adage “every cloud has a silver lining” is so true. We can use this time of trouble, to reflect and change; to expand our horizons.

  7. Natalie Graham's Gravatar Natalie Graham
    February 17, 2021 - 8:47 am | Permalink

    Thank you for the reminder that God’s love shines on us all, through all seasons, and most brightly as a beacon for us in our darkest hours. Blessings to all from here in Summerville, SC.

  8. Carolynne's Gravatar Carolynne
    February 17, 2021 - 8:50 am | Permalink

    What a beautiful message to start the day! Thank you for being here & something we can turn to and count on. Lots of love from Colorado!

  9. Linda's Gravatar Linda
    February 17, 2021 - 8:50 am | Permalink

    Exactly how we need to start Lent and also remember others who need a virtual hug

  10. Maryellen's Gravatar Maryellen
    February 17, 2021 - 8:55 am | Permalink

    Thought-provoking. Beautiful. Thank you.

  11. Diana's Gravatar Diana
    February 17, 2021 - 8:59 am | Permalink

    Thank you Tim and Scott. You always find the right words at the right time.

  12. Kathleen Conrad's Gravatar Kathleen Conrad
    February 17, 2021 - 9:07 am | Permalink

    Thank you for this – these same thoughts crossed my mind this morning and I was contemplating how many weeks I feel I have been in this season of Lent, with the sacrifices we all had to endure with the pandemic, which has brought us closer through prayer, renewed faith and the hope of what is to come.

  13. February 17, 2021 - 9:13 am | Permalink

    I agree with the others who have commented–Thank you. This is what I needed to hear.

  14. Lindsay Hardin Freeman's Gravatar Lindsay Hardin Freeman
    February 17, 2021 - 9:15 am | Permalink

    Really wonderful words. Thank you again for the reminder that it’s not about ashes, but rather “a holy Lent.” A huge difference, especially with all the news stories about inventive ways to do ashes. Appreciate your perspective and good writing!
    Blessings —

  15. Barbara's Gravatar Barbara
    February 17, 2021 - 9:18 am | Permalink

    I read this just as I got off virtual Ash Wednesday service. We marked the sign of the cross on our foreheads without ashes. Our priest suggested that perhaps we should mark the sign every morning when we get up. We have been reminded this past year of death and suffering. Let us be thankful that we are here.

  16. Peter Stebinger's Gravatar Peter Stebinger
    February 17, 2021 - 9:22 am | Permalink

    Nicely said. Thank you.

  17. Dana Orwig's Gravatar Dana Orwig
    February 17, 2021 - 9:48 am | Permalink

    Thank you for this. Well said.

  18. Dena's Gravatar Dena
    February 17, 2021 - 9:51 am | Permalink

    Thank you for your thoughtful invitation to a Holy Lent.

  19. Brian Perkins's Gravatar Brian Perkins
    February 17, 2021 - 10:09 am | Permalink

    I can’t believe I look forward to Lent now. What does that say about me? I never did as a boy…. I hope I’m deeper with age and not just turning into a curmudgeon…or enjoying a bracket overly much. May the prayers of this Lent usher in a wonderful Easter for all of us.

  20. Wendy Webster Coakley's Gravatar Wendy Webster Coakley
    February 17, 2021 - 10:17 am | Permalink

    Here in the chilly Berkshires of Western Mass., we’re observing Mask Wednesday, a blessing of the masks to “remind us that despite our finite and fractured state, we are to live our lives loving God and loving our neighbors as ourselves. Our masks are the symbol of that very love.”

    https://www.ststephenspittsfield.org/mask-ash-wednesday-february-17/

  21. Tamisyn Grantz's Gravatar Tamisyn Grantz
    February 17, 2021 - 10:50 am | Permalink

    Thank you for those wonderful words as we start our lenten journey for this year.

  22. Julie Johnson's Gravatar Julie Johnson
    February 17, 2021 - 10:54 am | Permalink

    Thank you. That is a beautiful meditation, and great words to start the day and the season.

  23. Lucy's Gravatar Lucy
    February 17, 2021 - 10:55 am | Permalink

    My favorite three verses of 51 that I recite daily!!

  24. KAREN HOWE's Gravatar KAREN HOWE
    February 17, 2021 - 11:06 am | Permalink

    Amen!

  25. Anne's Gravatar Anne
    February 17, 2021 - 11:45 am | Permalink

    Thank you so much. I’ve been wanting to reread those Narnia books, and I love this reference.

  26. Beth's Gravatar Beth
    February 17, 2021 - 11:52 am | Permalink

    Amen!

  27. Mary Beth Burns's Gravatar Mary Beth Burns
    February 17, 2021 - 12:12 pm | Permalink

    As always, the community is one of the blessings of Lent Madness –
    But your introduction to the Season with Psalm 51 was. An answer to my need for
    Wisdom and peace – Thank you so much for reminding us of the context of Lent,
    During a pandemic that has robbed us all of much of the context of our every day
    lives – Thank you, and God Bless –

  28. Mary Winston's Gravatar Mary Winston
    February 17, 2021 - 12:15 pm | Permalink

    Tim and Scott,
    Like a kid, right after Christmas, I always look forward to today with great anticipation. Despite working from home, worries about my kids and family, worries about what things we hear about in the news, I still have this excitement and expectation. Thank you so much

  29. Elizabeth Brown's Gravatar Elizabeth Brown
    February 17, 2021 - 12:19 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for this thoughtful reflection as we enter into the Lenten season. May we all come to know the joy of God’s saving help throughout our lives, and especially during this time of global pandemic.

  30. Ruth Heyder's Gravatar Ruth Heyder
    February 17, 2021 - 12:44 pm | Permalink

    Lovely!
    I have been such depression, and love your message.
    Thank you,
    Ruth

  31. February 17, 2021 - 12:48 pm | Permalink

    Blessings and thank you for that thoughtful invitation.
    Carol

  32. Jacque Fertick's Gravatar Jacque Fertick
    February 17, 2021 - 2:06 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for the beautiful meditation. Blessed and Holy Lent to all.

  33. Linda lapham's Gravatar Linda lapham
    February 17, 2021 - 2:30 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for a very thoughtful start to our journey this year

  34. Patricia Gordon's Gravatar Patricia Gordon
    February 17, 2021 - 3:54 pm | Permalink

    How beautiful! How encouraging! How inspiring. Thank you for putting everything – pandemic, Zoom “worship”, do-it-yourself Communion and Ashes, the separation, the doubts, the lost feeling – thank you more than I can ever say. Good bless and keep you both.

  35. Elaine Chilcote's Gravatar Elaine Chilcote
    February 17, 2021 - 4:04 pm | Permalink

    You used the term “Lenten Journey” three times in this short essay. I was sick of the term even before I read this piece. Yes, I know I’m an old curmudgeon, if a woman can be a curmudgeon instead of an old crone.
    I am looking forward as always to Lent Madness. How about a Lenten pilgrimage? A trek?

  36. Scotty's Gravatar Scotty
    February 17, 2021 - 6:35 pm | Permalink

    Haven’t yet begun my daily checking of LentMadness, but saw this email just as my rumbly tummy was telling me to eat… Was reminded of how much was given by our Lord, & my resolve was strengthened. Thank you!

  37. February 17, 2021 - 7:45 pm | Permalink

    Thank you so much for the hopeful and thoughtful words, it’s been a really tough year and depression is just another layer on top. On the bright side, however, I just finished a remote Zoom Ash Wednesday service where my wife and I picked up our ashes “to go” at our church, then tonight we imposed them
    on ourselves during the Zoom service. It was really pretty swell, especially to see the 50 + adults & kids from our church who participated (only 6 in person, the rest on Zoom)! Thank God for my church, St. Margaret’s Episcopal in DC, and for y’all, the Lent Madness SEC!! Love and peace, Isabelle

  38. Joy's Gravatar Joy
    February 17, 2021 - 7:53 pm | Permalink

    Thank you so much for your thoughtful words!

  39. andrea's Gravatar andrea
    February 17, 2021 - 10:17 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for this beautiful message. A Blessed and Holy Lent to all.

  40. Barbara Meyer's Gravatar Barbara Meyer
    February 18, 2021 - 2:34 pm | Permalink

    Amen. To remember He is always present with us.

  41. Carol's Gravatar Carol
    February 18, 2021 - 3:21 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for your words, so needed as we go through another Lent.Blessings and peacefulness for all.Amen

  42. Iris Walters's Gravatar Iris Walters
    February 18, 2021 - 4:12 pm | Permalink

    Very timely….have forwarded to all of our congregation …..a bit of joy and inspiration when needed most.

  43. Laura Schick's Gravatar Laura Schick
    February 18, 2021 - 8:15 pm | Permalink

    Remembering I never have to walk alone through the valleys nor the mountain tops. Our God is always there calling me, holding me, keeping me safely in the embrace of His great Love.

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