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5 years ago  ::  Jan 06, 2010 - 2:29PM #1
BBarton
Posts: 1,670

Does anyone else have a difficult time with Lent?  I dread it!  I hate being forced to see my King taken from his throne to be recrucified annually.  Is it necessary?  Why?  Would Jesus want us to exchange his victory over the world for the shame and suffering of the cross?  Wasn't once good for all time?


I'm not trying to make anyone angry, but am looking for good ways to comprehend something better than what I get from Lent.  One year I gave up religion for Lent.  This year, TV is the heart's suggestion -especially the "News".

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5 years ago  ::  Jan 06, 2010 - 10:17PM #2
LitanyoftheSaints
Posts: 1,223

Ugh, yes Lent does a number on me. It feels like a period of mourning. It brings me down.


But then again, I think it makes us appreciate the Risen one and the joy that is Easter.


And Lent is so early this year- Ash Wed is a week after my birthday! Believe me,  I will indulge  before the solemnity of Lent starts!

"The centrality of our mission is to love each other. That means caring for our neighbors. And it does not mean bickering about fine points of doctrine."- ++KJS
http://kjsfanpage.blogspot.com/
http://chicksinpointyhats.blogspot.com/

"We are to be Christ's hands and feet and heart and mind and we cannot do that if we assume God's role of judgment. The judge's job is filled. God alone is judge! Those who would be Saviors of the Church and the people in it are also reminded that the Savior's job has been filled. Jesus Christ filled it once for all. "- Bishop Rodney Michel
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5 years ago  ::  Jan 07, 2010 - 11:07AM #3
BBarton
Posts: 1,670

Jan 6, 2010 -- 10:17PM, LitanyoftheSaints wrote:


Ugh, yes Lent does a number on me. It feels like a period of mourning. It brings me down.


But then again, I think it makes us appreciate the Risen one and the joy that is Easter.


And Lent is so early this year- Ash Wed is a week after my birthday! Believe me,  I will indulge  before the solemnity of Lent starts!





Thanks Litany.  Yes, Easter is glorious.  It's like they let him back into the near lifeless building.  Or opened the Windows for air and sunshine.


I hope your birthday and year are most blessed.  -B

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5 years ago  ::  Jan 07, 2010 - 11:21AM #4
BBarton
Posts: 1,670

Jan 7, 2010 -- 10:50AM, BritLit37 wrote:


I prefer Lent/Easter to Advent/Christmas. LOL, don't send the men in the white coats. (Well, unless they're single and hot, hahahahaha.)


Being disabled, Advent/Christmas is very hard on me, expectations-wise. I have a very limited income and very limited energy level so doing even the minimum exhausts me. And I hate that Christmas has become more of a secular, consumerist thing, which one must constantly ward off in hopes of gaining some spiritual peace and joy from it.


Lent, on the other hand, gives us pause to think, ponder, and grow. At my parish, we're blessed with priests who offer truly wonderful reflections and sermons. I usually discover something new in the Scripture readings that they elucidate every Sunday -- things that hadn't caught my eye before. In short, I seek growth and renewal and usually find it.


I need the annual descent into contemplation -- and it doesn't have to be morbid or guilt-ridden, it just has to be honest. The rituals and liturgies of our church really take us there. I have a good friend whose wife insisted he join her church, Presbyterian. He was raised Episcopalian and his family was very active in the parish I attend so he likes to hear updates and news. I can tell he misses it. He said a few years ago, he was able to slip away and went with a friend to our Maundy Thursday service because he needed it. It's just so very poignant and thought-provoking.


I agree. I need this period of time each year to reflect on myself, my attitudes, and empty myself to be open to God's guidance and loving care. Happily, the secular world isn't interested in Lent and doesn't put a whole lot of silly expectations on Easter, either. It's a time of intense emotions leading to the incredible joy of the Resurrection. And in our tradition, it's less about the "your sins crucified Christ" bit and more about "Jesus wants you to become the best person you can be, and this is how much He loves you." I welcome that.





Thank you, BritLit37


I see what you're saying and appreciate contemplation too.  We have a new priest who is very light hearted, intelligent, and loving.  I trust the Lord is going to do something wonderful this Lent.


It's always been a bit depressing, but a few years ago my son left for war at Lent.  I could relate to Abraham having to offer Issac and to Mary having to witness the horrors to her son.  That was the year of Mel Gibson's the passion. 


The next year my son was still gone and I gave the perspective of his mother during the Maundy Thursday service.  It was after that, the next one I just couldn't.


Echart Tolle describes an inner pain body we all have to varying degrees.  It isn't who we are, but when it's awakened, we can easily think that's who we are and we don't want that running the show.  Lent with the suffering and shame was awakening that in me.


I really appreciate what you had to say and will take your words to heart.  Especially the last two paragraphs, so that I can better realize Christ refining me and to see him and his work in others too. 


Blessings of peace and joy to you, B   

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5 years ago  ::  Jan 07, 2010 - 12:17PM #5
mecdukebec
Posts: 14,637

As clergy frankly, I can't abide Advent and Christmas Eve: Too tiring.  Too much of "We have to have the perfect  holiday service(s)." going on there.


That said, the only Advent song that still brings me to tears is the quite new one, "One Candle is Lit," and I love the last stanza in how it hints at Lent: 


"Come, listen, the sounds of God-with-us ring clear,
and signs of a cross in the distance appear.
The Word once made flesh, yet the Word ever near.
One candle is lit for the Christ-birthday here."


And with that, I really like Lent, because it's far less saccharine, and the saints who want to be in church make time to be there.  But then, with the proverbial coke-bottle glasses, grim mien and dark, brooding Geneva pulpit robe, we would prefer Lent. 

*******

"Wesley told the early Methodists to gain all they could and save all they could so that they could give all they could. It means that I consider my money to belong to God and I see myself as one of the hungry people who needs to get fed with God’s money. If I really have put all my trust in Jesus Christ as savior and Lord, then nothing I have is really my own anymore."
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5 years ago  ::  Jan 08, 2010 - 3:37PM #6
BBarton
Posts: 1,670

Jan 7, 2010 -- 12:17PM, mecdukebec wrote:


As clergy frankly, I can't abide Advent and Christmas Eve: Too tiring.  Too much of "We have to have the perfect  holiday service(s)." going on there.


That said, the only Advent song that still brings me to tears is the quite new one, "One Candle is Lit," and I love the last stanza in how it hints at Lent: 


"Come, listen, the sounds of God-with-us ring clear,
and signs of a cross in the distance appear.
The Word once made flesh, yet the Word ever near.
One candle is lit for the Christ-birthday here."


And with that, I really like Lent, because it's far less saccharine, and the saints who want to be in church make time to be there.  But then, with the proverbial coke-bottle glasses, grim mien and dark, brooding Geneva pulpit robe, we would prefer Lent. 





I haven't heard that song.  I found the lyrics on line; yes!  Beautiful.  Good you are clergy, Mecdukebec.  I've often thought you showed a servant/soldier's heart, which I admire in positions of leadership.  Perhaps you would know where the practice of Lent originated?  When did the Anglican church adopt the practice?  I suspect it came from Rome. 


 


T

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5 years ago  ::  Jan 08, 2010 - 3:45PM #7
BBarton
Posts: 1,670

Jan 8, 2010 -- 3:37PM, BBarton wrote:


Jan 7, 2010 -- 12:17PM, mecdukebec wrote:


As clergy frankly, I can't abide Advent and Christmas Eve: Too tiring.  Too much of "We have to have the perfect  holiday service(s)." going on there.


That said, the only Advent song that still brings me to tears is the quite new one, "One Candle is Lit," and I love the last stanza in how it hints at Lent: 


"Come, listen, the sounds of God-with-us ring clear,
and signs of a cross in the distance appear.
The Word once made flesh, yet the Word ever near.
One candle is lit for the Christ-birthday here."


And with that, I really like Lent, because it's far less saccharine, and the saints who want to be in church make time to be there.  But then, with the proverbial coke-bottle glasses, grim mien and dark, brooding Geneva pulpit robe, we would prefer Lent. 





I haven't heard that song.  I found the lyrics on line; yes!  Beautiful.  Good you are clergy, Mecdukebec.  I've often thought you showed a servant/soldier's heart, which I admire in positions of leadership.   


I always thought all the bad stuff was a cup of guilt and shame passed to us from Rome, instead of the joy Jesus promised, but I was reading about Jesus' 40 days in the wilderness, and realize it's good for me to go to that place too. 


Sometimes when something's troubling, it's nice to get the perspectives of others to help see beyond our own limits.  Thanks. 


 





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5 years ago  ::  Jan 09, 2010 - 1:36AM #8
NotAnAtheistMama
Posts: 58

Jan 6, 2010 -- 2:29PM, BBarton wrote:

Does anyone else have a difficult time with Lent?  I dread it!  I hate being forced to see my King taken from his throne to be recrucified annually.  Is it necessary?  Why?  Would Jesus want us to exchange his victory over the world for the shame and suffering of the cross?  Wasn't once good for all time?


I'm not trying to make anyone angry, but am looking for good ways to comprehend something better than what I get from Lent.  One year I gave up religion for Lent.  This year, TV is the heart's suggestion -especially the "News".






I think you have to look at it from a philosophical perspective.  You can't know what good is unless you also know what evil is--you have to have something to compare it to.

Easter would be meaningless unless you understand exactly what Christ went through on the cross.  And it's supposed to be humiliating and painful--it demonstrates just how much he loved the world that he gave himself as a sacrifice for all the sins of the world.  If his death had been quick and honorable, it wouldn't seem like that big a deal.  Imagine if Jesus had ascended bodily into heaven without dying at all--like Elijah.  Would you think of him as the Messiah, or just another in a long line of prophets?  What would have distinguished him as the Savior if he could have been easily confused with others who came before?

Part of the purpose behind the Lenten fast was very practical.  So late in the winter, there was little available to eat (before modern farming practices); many people were going to go hungry anyways beween February and April.  By making that period of time a time of fasting, the suffering people were going to do anyways suddenly became ennobled.  Now they wern't hungry because the food ran out, but because they were making a sacrifice to God for the betterment of their souls.  They get a heavenly reward for what they have to suffer here on earth.  (It also helps keep people from breaking down into lawlessness and stealing and rioting.)  It makes things more bearable. 

Of course, in our time, hardly anyone in the U.S. or Europe goes without food (yes, I know some people do, but compared to society in the middle ages, it's an amazingly small number).  In fact, most of us have way too much food to eat!  Giving something up for Lent (or, in my case, I made myself go to church for Lent last year!) connects us not just a little bit to the suffering that Christ did for us, but to the very real privations that our ancestors suffered for generations--privations that we are almost completely oblivious to nowadays. 

You have to go without something to appreciate how much you really enjoy it.  Of course, sometimes you have to go without something to realize how much you don't need it (e.g. kicking a habit, like smoking).  Christ did fast for 40 days in the desert, but he was also tempted--and he resisted.  So either giving up something you like or resisting a temptation is good.     

As a medieval re-encator, I find medieval people's view of religion fascinating.  It's so very different than modern people's views (and you must remember that it was the medieval church that created Lent).  Medieval people could get very hung up on the suffering of Christ.  They actually put a LOT more emphasis on the Cruxifiction than the Nativity.  There are MANY more pictures of the former than the later.  If you read the Book of Margery Kempe or the Revleations of Julian of Norwich, you will find that people had really bizarre, fairly disturbing visions of Christ crucified, with blood gushing out of his wounds, and they will go on and on and on about the blood.  It sounds like someone describing a horror movie.  But something medieval people had to deal with a more more than we do is a sudden and early and violent death.  In the 14th century (when both books were written), the average medieval person could expect to be dead by 50; wealthier people died around 60.  Many people died during the Hundred Years War.  People died in numbers beyond reckoning during the Plague, and died in horrible, stinking, disfiguring ways.  Death now is so sanitized--embalmed, made up, odor-free.  It's not a corpse, it's remains; we're not dead, we've passed on.  Medieval people, though, had a lot better idea of what a tortured body looked like.  And they really connected to the idea that Christ died a very painful death at an early age--the same sort of death that awaited many.

Modern people don't like the idea of death because funeral homes, etc. shield us from it.  We have difficulty understanding what Christ went through because we have never seen a public execution.  Many of us have never even touched a dead body, much less cleaned one and wrapped it in a shroud.  But when Lent first came about, people understood and identified with that all too well.  And when the church was worried about saving souls, they wanted people to be reminded of their own mortality, because today might be the last chance they get to repent.

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5 years ago  ::  Jan 10, 2010 - 11:43AM #9
atkegar
Posts: 80

Jan 9, 2010 -- 6:27PM, BritLit37 wrote:


BBarton,


I found these comments of yours especially poignant:


It's always been a bit depressing, but a few years ago my son left for war at Lent.  I could relate to Abraham having to offer Issac and to Mary having to witness the horrors to her son.  That was the year of Mel Gibson's the passion. 


 


The next year my son was still gone and I gave the perspective of his mother during the Maundy Thursday service.  It was after that, the next one I just couldn't.


I think that's EXACTLY the value of Lent and the remembering and retelling of the Passion narratives. At every stage of life and through different challenges, we can relate to the emotions, perspectives, and experiences of the different characters in the stories. And, through that, come to some new and different understandings of what happened and what God did for us.


There are a couple things that J-A has said in this message that I feel I must comment on.  One of my understandings of the Resurection is that it is where God transforms something meant for bad (the crucifixtion of Jesus), into good.  To me, to fully undersand the victory of the Resurection, one must understand the Cross, and to understand the Cross, we must use Lent as a time of self reflection.  atkegar


Much more than the baby in the creche, the Suffering Savior understands us by enduring the harshest realities of the human experience. As an omniscient God, He already knew, of course, but part of the miracle is that He came so we could know and GRASP that He knows, if that makes any sense. And, as such, we can have confidence that He is an approachable, compassionate, understanding Deity and not one far removed from His Creation.


As an ex-RC, one of the biggest problems I had with that Church was its focus on Mary as a sinless, beautiful, ethereal creature, far removed from other mums and women. That does Mary -- and mums and women -- a HUGE disservice. We should be able to relate to her, her relationship with her son, her role as the ultimate servant of God, and as the sorrowful mother.


This is the second point I must make.  I cannot accept Rome's doctrine of Mary sinlessness.  This takes away from the uniquness of Christ, and it also tends, at least in my mind, to take away from the complete humanity of Jesus.  In the end, this, and the question of authority in the Church was why I decided to become an Episcopalian instead of a RC.  atkegar


Heh, and I won't even discuss what the RCC did to Mary Magdalen's memory, GRRRRRRR.


Julie-Anne





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5 years ago  ::  Jan 10, 2010 - 3:04PM #10
LitanyoftheSaints
Posts: 1,223

I enjoyed today - which honors the baptism of Christ. I love re-affirming the baptismal vows.


Ermm.... were we supposed to light the  paschal candle? - because we didnt.

"The centrality of our mission is to love each other. That means caring for our neighbors. And it does not mean bickering about fine points of doctrine."- ++KJS
http://kjsfanpage.blogspot.com/
http://chicksinpointyhats.blogspot.com/

"We are to be Christ's hands and feet and heart and mind and we cannot do that if we assume God's role of judgment. The judge's job is filled. God alone is judge! Those who would be Saviors of the Church and the people in it are also reminded that the Savior's job has been filled. Jesus Christ filled it once for all. "- Bishop Rodney Michel
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