This Week in Church: Seasons Change and Forced Lent

Welcome to the series wherein I share my take-aways from church. The things that, I think, are beneficial to all of us to know or think about, whether or not we believe in any church-related things.

A picture of a small chaple with a steeple in a field, with the text This Week in Church written on the sky.

This week in church, we talked about the seasons.

Despite the fact that it feels like the axis of the earth itself has shifted, the planet actually continues to do its thing. Spring is coming! In earnest! Here in Vancouver, the cherry blossoms are in bloom and the rain has given way to warmth and sunshine (thank goodness).

It's good to remember that the seasons continue to change no matter what we do as individuals. Our lives may have flopped over and spilled into a brand-new container, but we can't stop spring. They keep changing, with or without our input.

This week in church, we talked about lengthening and forced lent.

Another season that has just concluded is lent. (This is a season in the church calendar for the time leading up to Easter.) Did you know that the word lent actually comes from the Old English word that was used for spring, lencten? It simply means "lengthening."

These days, many people think of the season of lent as a time of contraction. It's a time when those who participate give up something they love and their life gets a little bit smaller.

What if we thought of this as a season of lengthening instead?

Perhaps giving something up clears some clutter, creating more space to stretch our minds and hearts. Or maybe we can find other ways to lengthen our perspective on ourselves, our lives, our concept of God, or the world around us.

Lent may technically be over, but the light is still extending a bit further every day. Our lives probably feel tighter and more restricted as we all grapple with the ongoing lenten sacrifice we were forced to make, giving up in-person community and the freedom to stand within 6 feet of strangers, whether or not we even believe in this stuff, but where can we find space for growth? For something new?

(Caveat: I am in NO WAY saying that you have to use your quarantine as a time for self-improvement or growth. If you can only handle the trauma of whatever is happening in your world by bingeing Netflix, I send you affirmations and air hugs. I am simply suggesting a slight mental reframe from constriction to spaciousness, whatever that might mean for you.)

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