So Lent begins

Sunrise from our kitchen.

Well, kind of. Guion told me last night that Lent doesn’t officially start until after the Ash Wednesday service, but I’m going to get started early.

Growing up as a non-liturgical non-denom., I never knew anything about the Lenten season, which now strikes me as rather sad and depraved. I’ve loved learning about the traditions and the liturgical calendar from my new family of faith, the Episcopal church. Guion is a born and bred Episcopalian and so I’ve learned a lot from him. I started observing Lent a year before we started dating and have continued since then.

This year, these are my Lenten disciplines:

  • No consumption of synthetic sugar (*with a few exceptions. I’m still eating stuff like bread and fruit, but no more cereal, yogurt, dessert, etc. Honey and agave nectar will also be allowed, but I’m going to try to go as long as I can without using them. I feel like I might go into powerful withdrawal.)
  • Prayer and Bible study each morning. I’ve been slacking lately and I can feel the difference in my mornings when I skip out.
  • Memorize one poem and one psalm with Guion.

As you know, I like challenges, but that’s not the sole reason for me for observing Lent. I think there is something to be said for the discipline of the body that informs the discipline of the soul. (Another reason I like the Episcopal service: the constant movement–kneeling, standing, sitting, kissing, consuming–tracks with the movement of the heart toward God and toward the sacrament of the Eucharist.) All that said, I am looking forward to this season of physical and spiritual taming. Although it bums me out that Lent always falls over my birthday… sugar-free ice cream is probably really gross.

What about you? Have you ever observed Lent before? Are you going to observe it this year?

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5 thoughts on “So Lent begins

  1. my introduction to lent was the beautiful service at the beautiful episcopal church down the street from our college. i, too, am sad that it took me 18-19 years to discover it!

    this year, jon’s giving up beer and together we’re buying nothing new for the entire 5 weeks (cleaning supplies/ personal hygiene necessities and groceries aside.) i’ve done it twice before and was shocked at how difficult it is- not that it’s difficult to go without spending money so much as it’s difficult to step back and realize how second nature it is to fork over your debit card in exchange for this pretty thing or that “necessary” thing. (this is also partly inspired by the story of stuff, which i would recommend if you haven’t already seen it.)

    good luck with giving up sugar. you’re brave!

  2. Couldn’t have said it better m’self, Abbs. Last year i swore off swearing. It was an indulgence i had allowed myself. That is the best one i’ve ever done; it has lasted…
    This year i’m doing some things with a group of guys, cutting a little deeper. We’ll do some fasting, and read Screwtape Letters together. At the end we’ll each write our own “Screwtape letter,” confessing how a tempter might best ‘get at us.’ Ultimately, i want to do that with dozens of folks, and collect those letters to publish.
    Meanwhile, i wish you a “Holy Lent.” May you have many opportunities to kneel… Peace!!!

  3. I will try to say Evening Prayer everyday except Sunday, when I plan to be in Church. I will read the bible, religious poetry, and read theology. I will try to be mindful of irritability with others and work to be more charitable in my reactions to people who disappoint or dismay me. I will think about what repentance means, what sacrifice means, and how to not get in the way of God making a “new and contrite heart” in me. As per usual, I will not eat brussel sprouts, broccoli, or asparagus. I will try to remember that I am dust and to dust I shall return. I have already done the obligatory reading of T.S. Eliot’s 1927 first long poem “Ash Wednesday” written after he converted to Anglicanism. Although I do not hope to turn again…..

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