Searching for meaning in Lent

March 6, 2019


Window from First United Methodist Church in Pensacola, Florida established as a mission in 1821.

This is a poem I really like and used years ago here on the blog. No author was found, so I’ll continue to search for a name.

The Prayer
As the cold gives way
to the warmer days
Warming up in the morning sunrays
I keep waiting with others
For the church door to open there
with spring breeze brushing the hair
Teasing my face with its refreshing fingers
The merry season passes over
paving way for penance’n prayer
Comes Lent thru the Ash
ending the days of happy bash
“Dust to Dust” he would mutter
‘Wash me through . . . O Lord’, I utter.

School is still out for the Mardi Gras holiday today, but the recent tornadoes northeast of us in Lee County, Alabama and the new season of Lent have left us quieted with new focus on the seriousness of life.

Cathedral of Immaculate Conception in Mobile, Alabama est. 1835.

Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. 23 people killed within moments with no warning. Terrible spring weather in Alabama is unpredictable and frightening. Not to forget, there are still thousands living in tents or other temporary housing just a few hours east of us in the Florida Panhandle after Hurricane Michael. Near freezing temperatures are dangerous and a huge problem for all who are displaced.

So . . . we continue to love our home, for some of us a little too much, as story after story is shared about how great it is to live here, unaware their boasting is stirring up a stampede of incoming crowds who will forever change our small, quaint lifestyle. People argue over how to grow, or if we should grow at all. Meanwhile, we give up meat, throw away junk, swear off social media, pray daily, and observe Lent, with an eye towards a victorious Easter morning.

Hurricane Michael damage.

And those just north and east of us eat over campfires or in church halls where volunteers bring food. Their schools are closed, not for festive Mardi Gras, but because there are no walls or teachers.

Lent this year will indeed be different, more reflective of what we have, more mindful of what we and others need. Are we truly focused on what this season means, or is it just another 40 days? Is it just another kitschy sermon series or slogan or is it the real heart of the message?

The search for a meaningful lenten season begins. And life on the battered, bruised and beautiful Gulf Coast goes on.

What are your plans for observing Lent this year?

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