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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Keeping a good Lent

Piety, practices and pilgrimage

In a famous sermon titled "The True Wilderness," the Anglican theologian H.A. Williams lamented, "It is a pity that we think of Lent as a time when we try to make ourselves uncomfortable in some fiddling but irritating way."

Williams went on to suggest that faithful Lenten observance "has nothing to do with giving up sugar in your tea, or trying to feel it's wicked to be you." So much of what passes for Lenten discipline is mere "ecclesiastical charade."

photodiscThe true Lent, this great preacher concluded, lies in following Jesus into a wilderness place, going somewhere one has never gone before. In so doing, like Jesus we may find renewal and inspiration, being filled by God's Spirit (The True Wilderness, Lippincott, 1965; pages 29-34).


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