When I left my childhood faith and embraced the United Methodist tradition, one of the many practices that I never observed until converting was Lent. I just thought the season was reserved for Catholics, and I didn’t give it a further thought. I also assumed that Lent was just about giving up things. Little did I realize that the observance of a “Holy Lent” would become a very important part of my faith practice.
I first approached my first Lenten season with fear and trepidation. I thought to myself, “This is a dreary and depressing season. Who in the world wants to observe this time of the year?” Everything seemed to suggest mourning and sadness. I was uncomfortable and did not like the tone of the church.
As I grew in my faith, I found that Lent offered me a way to rediscover the very basics of my belief in God. I learned the importance of remembering my mortality and searching the very depths of my soul for the things that brought me closer to death. I kept asking myself, “What separates me from my creator?”
Over time, my practice grew to include things that I could add to my day to remind me of God’s love and kindness. Last year I added a commitment to writing a blog each day, this year I will pray the daily prayers of the Office of the Divine Hours. Whatever I chose, I hope to increase my awareness of the presence of the Holy One, and to once again offer myself to His service. I pray that I may grow in the love and knowledge of Christ, and develop something far beyond a faith practice. I hope to begin a life commitment.
Praise be to God, who constantly reminds us of His love for us.