Lent - Matt Crenson

Lent is no fun. Penitence and self-denial don’t lend themselves to recreation, especially when they come at winter’s end – after a stretch of long nights, short days, and bleak skies. True, there are perverse, pharasaical souls who draw satisfaction and pride from suffering.  Isaiah (58:3-4) tells us that they are spiritual losers. The rest of us scarcely ever think of anything really consequential to give up for Lent. Our suffering is inconsequential. And maybe this isn’t the best way to think about Lent. Its forty days are supposed to echo Christ’s forty days in the wilderness being tempted by Satan. And there are other biblical forties that seem to prefigure Lent – the Israelites’ forty years in the wilderness, Moses’ forty days of solitude on the mountain, waiting for Jehovah to deliver the Commandments. These stretches in the wilderness are sentences served in uncertainty or confusion. They show us how little mastery we have over our own souls, how much we need and hope for grace. We wait for the lightening strike – some Sunday, perhaps, this Easter, we hope – that will leave us clarified. Lent can descend on us anytime.