By this point in Lent, the bloom is usually off the rose. For those of you in northern climates, this long cold winter has been enough of a slog without trying to add anything new. Here in Florida, we have not been fighting cold and snow, but one of my most enthusiastic leaders told me yesterday that he is ready for Lent to be over and to celebrate Easter already!
Forty plus days is a long time to stay on one thing. We are unaccustomed to waiting so long for much of anything. I think that might be the genius of this season; it’s longer than a month, so that by the end of it, we are truly longing for Easter; for hallelujahs and bright colors, for a chance to refocus off discipline and sacrifice and striving. The purpose of Lent is to prepare us for Easter. If part of that preparation is to increase our longing, then our Lenten practice has already been successful.
So now, as we prepare for Holy Week, we have yet another opportunity to re-assess our spiritual lives and figure out what practice will prepare us for the Resurrection. Maybe its more of the same; an intensification of our reading or lengthening our meditation time. Maybe it is picking up a practice that we let drop, just for a week. Maybe it is acting on a desire that surfaced during our Lenten quiet time. Or maybe it is doing something entirely different. If this Lent has truly been difficult for you, perhaps what you need is liberation from something.
Could you get all of the cooking out of the way early in the week, and let your family eat more simply? Could you get yourself out of the office every day for half an hour to enjoy the Spring sunshine? Could you attend a daily church service just for this week? Of perhaps you have been longing to create something beautiful for Easter; this week you could give yourself the gift of time to do that.
But wherever your heart is, know that we are in the home stretch now. No matter whether we feel that we have done Lent “well” or not, the Resurrection is coming!