The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


I really don't like Lent

I really don't like Lent. I am not a night person, so those Lenten services are tough. And I don’t like to go to that really sad place of Jesus dying. Can’t we just fast-forward to the resurrection? Do I have to think about the sweating blood in the garden, the blood dripping from the crown of thorns, Mary and the women watching it all happen?

Watching the news, I see sorrowful stories: shootings of children and adults in schools, in neighborhoods and other places; of human loss. I haven’t suffered that kind of violent loss, but I am brought to tears. There is no doubt that everyone who loved these children and adults, who experienced those tragedies, suffers.

When Jesus “set his face toward Jerusalem,” he walked with a determination to die. He was a victim of violence, he felt the pain and saw his family grieve. He lived and died in a way that people who have lost loved ones to violence can understand. Jesus knows their pain.

Each year, our pastor encourages us to “observe” Lent. That is the least that I can do this year: honor the suffering of Christ and grieve with those who suffer. I will spend these six weeks with Jesus so he can teach me more about suffering today and resurrection tomorrow.


Linda M Middleton

Linda M Middleton

Posted at 4:38 pm (U.S. Eastern) 3/12/2014

re:  I really don't like Lent

As a Pastor's wife, I would think that perhaps there might have been an understanding of what God has done for us by giving us His only son to take away all of our sins.  No one likes to see people suffer for any reason, but really - grow up!  Don't like lent because you don't like to go out at night?  Wow!

It is difficult for me to drive at night, yet, I look forward to the fellowship of our Lenten services, the sharing of a meal and then the spiritual journey we share thereafter.  That, is what it is all about.  That is what is should be all about 365 days a year, not just Lent.  I do believe that God desires no less of us - to fellowship in worship of Him on a daily basis, not just one night a week during Lent.

Note: Linda M Middleton edited this post at 4:38 pm on 3/12/2014.

Alice Argon

Alice Argon

Posted at 9:52 pm (U.S. Eastern) 3/12/2014

Without Jesus "sweating blood in the garden", there would be no way to deal with the tragedies you mention.   They are awful, truly awful, but they are with us.  If it's not one thing, it's another.  We all will die and most of us will suffer before we do.  Recounting (and meditating on) the Passion of Jesus is a comfort.  We are not alone in our suffering.  Someone understands---really understands---the worst that life can dish out.  People will fail us, flee from us, distract us, shut us up, but the one who "set his face toward Jerusalem" has done exactly the opposite.  There's nothing like it.

I like Lent.

Ralph Stilwell

Ralph Stilwell

Posted at 3:04 pm (U.S. Eastern) 3/13/2014

Jane, you have certainly encouraged some thinking, comment, and commitment. Thanks for encouraging us all to engage in the Lenten Journey.

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