in a comment on holy week meltdown, crackerlilo asked me to explain lent and why in the heck it was meltdown inducing time.
her exact comment was:
"I've never heard anyone say that about Lent before. When you have time, could you speak a little deeper about it? I'm a Pentecostal-turned-Pagan--never did Lent.
What did you give up? (If I missed it, sorry.)"
ok... some short answers:
lent is the time before easter. it consists of 40 days (not including sundays, which are always considered "little easters.")
it begins on ash wednesday, when we remember our mortality and our need for God.
the last week of lent is called holy week, which begins on palm sunday. palm sunday is when we remember jesus' entrance into jerusalem where people, believing he was going to become their new king, threw palm branches on the ground as he rode in on a donkey.
next follows the triduum or the three days. they are: maundy thursday (when jesus had his last supper and washed the disciples' feet), good friday (when jesus is crucified and dies), and the easter vigil(when the miraculous happens and jesus rises from the dead).
and then there is easter (when we celebrate the resurrection).
lent is an incredibly holy time leading up to the most holy act: the death and resurrection of jesus.
so why is it also the most stressful for clergy?
well, for one, there is an increase in the workload. i add an extra service during the week usually with some sort of supper beforehand. this year was entitled: bread, broth and bible. we gathered, had soup, and then had devotions based upon the story of the good samaritan every wednesday for 5 weeks.
holy week includes lots of extra worship and all of the services are different from other sunday services. i have 2 extra sermons to write this week. and sermon writing is not an easy task, especially when preaching seems most important.
this is the time i most want people to "get." if there is only one story i want people to understand about jesus it's the story this time tells.
and it's not just that i want other christians to get it. i want people to get it because it's what my faith is all about; the idea that God loves us enough to have done this thing... and if God loves us that much, that he would die for us then it means that people are of value... great value. and it doesn't matter what kind of people we are... we are loved.
i want to get the story right and i want people to hear it.
so, there you have it, crackerlilo. i hope that answered your question.
oh, and i did give up something for lent, but i'm keeping it secret.
God's peace y'all
as a side note: the beautiful artwork of the resurrection is by an artist named He Qi. you can see more of his work here.