Let’s stop for a moment and think about our stereotypes of Lent. What words come to mind for you?
“Dull, dreary, and sad,” some might say.
“Long and boring,” others might say.
“Sin and death and the day of vengeance of our God!” others might crow triumphantly.
I had one parishioner at a former church, a 3-year-old, who told me solemnly on Ash Wednesday, “I don’t like Lent because it makes me sneeze.” As good a characterization as any, I suppose.
Would it surprise you to know that the origin of the word “Lent” is the Old English word for “springtime”?
Yes, we do talk about sin and mortality in Lent, and there is an appropriate solemnity for doing that.
But if you think that’s the whole story of Lent, you’re missing out.
Lent is springtime in the desert.
And we are given an amazing opportunity each year to take part in it.
Let’s think about that strange juxtaposition of terms: springtime in the desert.
Both parts matter. It’s not just springtime—new life and blooming flowers and singing birds.
And it’s not just the desert—emptiness and challenge and wandering in search of sustenance.
It’s springtime in the desert.
What does that mean for us in our spiritual lives? Continue reading