How Long is too Long?
Some thoughts about Lent
Just now I’m trying to remember what it was like to go outside of the house in my shirtsleeves and feel the warm sunlight wash over my body. To me, this winter has seemed unusually long. This season has seemed not only unusually only long, but also unusually cold, snowy, icy, windy, dangerous, inconven-ient and down-right unpleasant. Because of the winter, the youth canceled their pancake supper, and worship was canceled one Sunday for everyone’s safety.
Therefore, I have resolved that this summer I’m not going to complain about how hot the temperature or how long the season. The long winter season has taught me my lesson. I’m going to delight in the light, and warmth, and freedom of spring, summer and fall.
Lent means, “long” or “lengthen.” In the church, Lent is intended to be a long season, 40 days long, or about six weeks long. When observed, Lent is a time to pray more than usual. Lent is a time to read the Bible more than usual. Lent is a time to perhaps fast (do without as much food) or supplement our spiritual activities (do with more).
To be honest, in this day and age, Lent does not exist for many people. Lent is called into being by ob-serving the season. The more we lengthen our menu of spiritual disciplines, the longer and harder the season seems to be. So, unlike the seasons of the year, Lent happens only if we make it happen. Lent only seems long if we make the season difficult.
The best part of enduring a long, difficult season is when the season changes. When the snow and ice melt; when the earth comes back to life with buds and leaves and flowers; when we shed our winter clothing and feel comfortable in our own skin again, then we will know and find delight that the season has changed.
When you hear the shout, “Christ has risen, he has risen indeed! Alleluia!” the season will have changed. When the church is bursting at the seams with joy, music, the scent of lilies, people and hope, then the season will have changed. When you feel that God’s love for you was made real in your life because you remember that Jesus rose from the dead, then the season will have changed.
It will not be long now, and I can’t wait. I’m ready for the season to change. How about you?
Trust in God, Pastor Thom