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lenten reflections

photo credit: anaivette


I don’t talk that much about Lent, for one of two reasons, and a third, extra spiritual bonus reason.

If I do share about how I plan to practice, experience, or engage with my faith during Lent, I’m invariably asked if I’m Catholic. No. I’m not Catholic. And I don’t think Catholics own Lent, nor do I think my Catholic friends would suggest so.

Which brings me to my second reason I don’t talk a lot about Lent. If I happen to mention Lent, and I happen to be asked if I’m Catholic, I find myself donning an invisible preacher’s robe, clearing my throat and my thoughts so I can explain to my inquisitor what Lent is, why I think it’s an important part of the Crucifixion story, and why I plan to mark it with certain behaviors.

The last thing my inquisitor wants is a short homily on church history and its wacky calendar. She just wanted to know if I was Catholic, and she was probably just being polite anyway. Poor kid.

My third, extra-spiritual reason is that to me, it’s private, and quiet, solemn and you know, sort of …dare I say…holy. I want to protect my experience, and my relationships, during Lent. I know many people talk about what they’re giving up and how hard it is. I have no problem with this. Do as you see fit. It’s not my cup of coconut cake.

In the coming weeks, you’ll be reading Lenten Reflections from some of my favorite online writer friends. I asked only women to share this year, and I gave them very few parameters. I asked them to choose a portion of Scripture and to write about it. Not a devotional per se, because I tend to feel like devotionals miss all the big important stuff, or try to make me respond to text in a certain way, and I hate being told what to think and how to respond.

I hope two things will happen. I hope you will meet some new and talented writers, and I hope you will be encouraged. It’s not too early to start thinking about, since Fat Tuesday is but a week away.


12 Responses to “Lenten Reflections”

  1. Caris Adel says:

    oh I’m so excited for this!!! Last year was the first year I really tried to give something up, and I only made it half way, but the whole process of thinking about Lent and reflecting on it made Easter so much more meaningful.

    • You are?! Yay! I have made the same kinds of half hearted attempts in the past. I think trying is a good thing, and I think planning, for me, is key. This is the first year in a LONG time I’ve thought about it, um, like, before Ash Wednesday. I can’t wait to hear from you @CarisAdel:disqus

  2. Nita says:

    I didn’t grow up practicing Lent, in fact I don’t think I’d heard of it. When I did learn about it, like many people I thought it was a Catholic thing, silly me. Last year was the first time I realized I didn’t have to be Catholic to practice Lent, and someone had the idea of doing for others specifically. I tried, but failed miserably, probably because I hadn’t planned. Thanks for the reminder Lent will soon be here. I will take time to prepare this year so I can once again send uplifting postcards to women I know or hear about who might need a smile. I know Lent is traditionally about giving something up, and I have decided not to watch television, but really that’s about saving money so I don’t think it counts. Thanks for the reminder. 🙂

    • Well, I think you’ll see from our series that it’s widely divergent, depending on denomination, upbringing, region and focus. It’ll be super cool to see how this all shakes out. I like the idea of giving up something, because of the way it humanizes a pain we can’t imagine. I hope you’ll check in and share your thoughts as we progress. Thanks @69a4ddfea3aacb382e9593fdad1f9ce0:disqus

  3. Jessica says:

    Still feeling totally insecure about my super unspiritual contribution. 🙂

  4. Leanne Penny says:

    I’m seriously excited about this Jen, have you run across any good Lenten Prep stuff online? If so pass it along please, I want to suss out what Lent is going to look like for me this year. Obviously I will be doing this with prayer but you know.. help is helpful.

    • Jennifer says:

      leanne, I plan to do a prep post on Monday, but I think as far as good materials go, it just sort of depends what you’re looking for. Family? Personal? Devotional? Through Scripture or a book of order? I’ll hope to provide some on Monday.

    • Hey, @leannepenny:disqus I posted some good stuff on Monday about what Lent is and why we celebrate it. There are literally a million different ways to mark the season. What kind of resources are you looking for? And I’m thrilled you’ll be lenting along with us.

  5. mrsmarieosborne says:

    Oh Jen! So inspiring. I think this is connecting with a little tug in my heart from God regarding some other things. May have to write about my own lent experiences while I following along your lent series!

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