Invitation to a Holy Lent

Dear Friends,

ash wednesday markBlessings to you all on this Ash Wednesday. While we like to have a lot of fun here at Lent Madness and occasionally engage in a bit of holy hyperbole, we're always mindful of why we host Lent Madness. Learning about and being inspired by saintly lives is food for our respective journeys of life and faith. The season of Lent has a wonderful way of stripping everything down to its essentials and bringing us back to the basics of our faith.

We can learn much from those who have come before us as faithful witnesses to the Gospel. And they always seem to come back to this: "Love God, love neighbor." Each one of these holy men and women did just that in their own time and in their own circumstances and they can inspire us to do the same in our own day. Like us, the saints weren't perfect -- but it's freeing to remember that perfection isn't the goal but faithfulness. Lent Madness helps make real these heroes of the faith by reminding us that they were living, breathing human beings not lifeless statues or distant figures immortalized yet immobilized in stained glass.

So as we stand at the cusp of another season of "madness" (it all begins tomorrow at 8:00 am EST), it's important to take a step back to remember why we engage in this unique online devotion. Yes, Lent is a time for self-examination and repentance but the essence of Lent Madness is to remind us that Lent is also a time of joy. After all, what could be more joyful than a time specifically set aside to grow our individual and collective relationships with Jesus Christ?

Know that you are all in our prayers on this Ash Wednesday and we encourage you to attend today's liturgy as an entrance into the season. Fortunately, the church has many "branch locations" spread throughout the world -- check your local listings. Then reflect on these words from the Book of Common Prayer:

Dear People of God: The first Christians observed with great devotion the days of our Lord's passion and resurrection, and it became the custom of the Church to prepare for them by a season of penitence and fasting. This season of Lent provided a time in which converts to the faith were prepared for Holy Baptism. It was also a time when those who, because of notorious sins, had been separated from the body of the faithful were reconciled by penitence and forgiveness, and restored to the fellowship of the Church. Thereby, the whole congregation was put in mind of the message of pardon and absolution set forth in the Gospel of our Savior, and of the need which all Christians continually have to renew their repentance and faith.

I invite you, therefore, in the name of the Church, to the observance of a holy Lent, by self-examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting, and self-denial; and by reading and meditating on God's holy Word.

Have a blessed Lent.

In Christ,

Tim and Scott
(AKA the Supreme Executive Committee of Lent Madness)

Photo by Annika Gordon on Unsplash


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34 comments on “Invitation to a Holy Lent”

  1. Due to the ice storm warning in our area, I will have to wait until Sunday for the Imposition of Ashes liturgy, which will be rolled into our Sunday service. To all, may you have a peaceful day of prayer.

  2. Thank you both again for your interest and care for your unknown audience. You are a help for our remembrance in this season of preparation.

  3. Thank you for this email. The congregation I am serving will not have Ash Wednesday services today due to the blizzard. Instead,my Bishop, The Rt. Rev. Jonathan Folts, reminded the clergy of my diocese that under special circumstances we will be able to have Ash Wednesday liturgy on the following Sunday. So February 26 will be Ash Sunday 🙂

  4. Thank you for continuing to provide this! I always look forward and learn so much every Lenten season!

  5. This is a beautiful reminder of the Lenten season. Thank you for starting us off on the best foot, not choosing a foot this season.

  6. Happy Lent! Thank you for this wonderful meditation. I look forward to the friendly competition this year and deepening our faith by learning about these wonderful examples of holiness.

  7. Thank you for your good words--they are inspiration as we stand in this doorway to the next 40 days.

  8. Thank you for the invitation to Lent Madness. I wouldn't miss it!
    Can you tell me how I can share the Madness with like-minded friends? I know people who would love to learn about the saints as we go along the road to Calvary.

  9. Prayers for a Holy Lent and for safety for all those whose Ash Wednesday observances are being cancelled, displaced, or postponed due to the Blizzard/Ice Storm.

  10. Glad to see this, thought I'd missed it as I don't check my email, and "they" were going to delete me.

  11. It is snowing so hard in Beautiful Mukilteo by the Sea that we are unable to get out to receive ashes this year. In place, we tapped into a cyber liturgy in Hawai'i where it is definitely not snowing and had our ashes "imposed" electronically.

  12. I'm so happy to be playing Lent Madness again. I look forward to it every year, as I learn a lot about the saints.

    May you both have a blessed Lent.

  13. The theme I plan to use in church this Lent is "Return to the Lord, your God" Joel 2:13b. Your introduction has helped me to clarify my introduction to Lent.

    I look forward to Lent Madness!

  14. I thank you for this opportunity each year to reflect on my transgressions. Your daily messages help with my reflections and devotions during this time.

  15. I have learned so much about those who made the way for us, so many years go by, its hard to think of those who bravely are Christian warriors and saints. Those who made it so easy for us to be called Christians.

  16. Thank you for this beautiful Invitation to a Holy Lent. Looking forward to the madness. A blessed and Holy Lent to all.

  17. How do I put in my brackets this year? I am getting error messages on two different computers. I keep getting a client side error message...

  18. There are three churches in Partnership of the Episcopal Church of Garfield County (Colorado). Our minister was to do the imposition of ashes in my home church (about 48 miles from her home). Well right at the time for church, there was a blizzard and highway conditions deteriorated rapidly. Our minister called our Senior Warden and told her she wasn't coming. There are two Lay Pastoral Leaders in our congregation, so we pinch hit quite well. The service was conducted, and ashes dispersed. All 14 people were glad they had attended. It was a good start to a Holy Lent.

  19. Hello, I am trying this for the first time and I cannot get the link, 32 saints, to open. It just turns pink. Am I doing something incorrectly??? I would really like to read the bios.