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Lent: Why Bother? Pastor Doug

Updated: Feb 7, 2021

Lent?? Why Bother?? Why do we observe Lent- and begin it with all that strange stuff we do on Ash Wednesday? All this talk about dust being how we got started and how we will finish. It all seems a bit morbid, does it not? Why all this talk about death?

Lent is meaningful because the hard questions lead to the best action steps.

Great questions in a culture that is already battling depression and teenage suicide is at epidemic levels. The reason Lent can be meaningful is because it gives us the chance to ask the deep questions. The kind of questions whose answers call us.

These questions about: the empty places of life, my life; the sadness of life, my life; the distance I feel between God and me; the distance I feel between you and me; the distance I feel between who I am, and who I want to be; the questions that step right into the fears, controlling behaviors, and selfishness of our lives.

Lent is meaningful because the hard questions lead to the best action steps.

The questions are "heavy enough, that our answers will have some weight to them. We aren't just choosing which restaurant for dining. We are asking the questions of Life, real life, true life, beautiful life.


I like what Frederick Buechner says about Lent:

"I like the questions? What are your answers?

In many cultures there is an ancient custom of giving a tenth of each year's income to some holy use. For Christians, to observe the forty days of Lent is to do the same thing with roughly a tenth of each year's days. After being baptized by John in the river Jordan, Jesus went off alone into the wilderness, where he spent forty days asking himself the question what it meant to be Jesus. During Lent, Christians are supposed to ask one way or another what it means to be themselves.

  • If you had to bet everything you have on whether there is a God or whether there isn't, which side would get your money and why?

  • When you look at your face in the mirror, what do you see in it that you most like and what do you see in it that you most deplore?

  • If you had only one last message to leave to the handful of people who are most important to you, what would it be in twenty-five words or less?

  • Of all the things you have done in your life, which is the one you would most like to undo?

  • Which is the one that makes you happiest to remember?

  • Is there any person in the world or any cause that, if circumstances called for it, you would be willing to die for?

  • If this were the last day of your life, what would you do with it?

To hear yourself try to answer questions like these is to begin to hear something not only of who you are, but of both what you are becoming and what you are failing to become. It can be a pretty depressing business all in all, but if sackcloth and ashes are at the start of it,

something like Easter may be at the end."

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