This week begins the season of Lent.
I’m relatively new to the church calendar seasons—the first year I ever observed Lent was 2007 (which I wrote about last year). But even in my few years of doing this, I have noticed this: Lent means something different to me every year.
The standard understanding of this season is that it meant to remind us of our need for resurrection. When I give something up—when I fast—during Lent, I am depriving myself of something that I will reintroduce into my life on Easter Sunday. Basically, I am teaching my brain to anticipate Resurrection Sunday. So the idea is that Lent reminds us of our natural longing for renewal. So last year, I preached my first Lent series and called it Without, and we spent six weeks exploring what it means to encounter God in times of absence. The question I was interested in asking was, What do we learn about God in the moments when something we love or rely on has been taken away?
This year, we are asking a similar question but from a slightly different angle.
This Sunday at Collective Church, I’m starting a new series called High & Dry. For the next six weeks, we will spend time exploring darkest parts of the Bible—the passages that were written during the Babylonian Exile, when the people felt as if God had forgotten them—as if they were being punished or forsaken—as if they had been completely abandoned.
It is one thing to find yourself without something; it is a whole other thing to find yourself so completely disoriented—so overwhelmed by loss or sorrow or displacement—that you don’t even know what to do next. That’s what these passages are about, and that’s where we are going for the next six weeks.
Like I said, Lent means something slightly different to each of us during any given year. For something as old as it is, Lent can certainly seem quite relevant and fresh to those of us who are asking questions that feel a bit challenging.
So whatever Lent looks like for you this year, may you experience some kind of renewal during this season.
May you find yourself longing for resurrection and eagerly anticipating Easter Sunday.