I love Lent for a few reasons, but this is the best: Holden Evening Prayer. Every Wednesday at 6:30pm. Non-Lutherans and anyone else unfamiliar with this Holden whatchamathingy, this is a beautifully reflective & musical worship service. My church holds it every Wednesday during Lent. It's a highlight.
Something fun that I get to do afterwards is read all the worship notes my diligent confirmation students turn in. One of the questions asks, "What was something you enjoyed during the worship service?" Their almost unanimous response? The music. And I agree - it's spectacular. It can be haunting at times, which is fitting for Lent. For me, Lent is all about being haunted by what is to come. You see, during Advent we're anxiously preparing for the birth of Jesus, but during Lent we're sobering up and coming to terms with what is about to happen. Trying to figure out what it means for us, for the world. Trying to learn about sacrifice.
Speaking of sacrifice, many people use Lent as a time to make sacrifices in their own lives. There's a deep and rich tradition behind this practice, but I fear it's gotten a little off track as of late. At the risk of sounding horribly judgmental, "giving up" sweets, caffeine, or diet coke doesn't count as a good Lenten sacrifice. It really does not. I get really annoyed when I hear about (or read about, thanks facebook!) people giving up stuff for Lent that they shouldn't be consuming or doing anyway. These aren't New Year's resolutions - this is Lent. This isn't about making healthier decisions that you should be making all year long anyway. This is Lent. Do something every day that will bring you closer to God. Eliminate something from your day that distracts you from God.
But, who am I to judge? I'm no expert on anyone's relationship with God but my own, and even that's sketchy at times. I guess what I am trying to say is, Don't make Lent about you. It's not about you.
If you're feeling judged by me, here's your turn to judge me - we're one week in to Lent and I still don't know what I'm going to try to do this season, be it giving something up or adding something in. What's that saying about throwing stones in glass houses?