Monday, March 9, 2009


So I've just learned that the word Lent comes from the Anglo-Saxon word lencten for Spring. I only found out because my 4 yr old asked!! Isn't it funny how they often ask the questions we should have asked long ago?!

Though I don't quite understand all of the history of Lent (for a quick overview from Christianity Today click here), its tie to Spring is fitting to me. We begin Lent by remembering we are dust. With our frailty and impoverishment before us, the idea that God would use us for His Glory is absurd, but we seek Him with a renewed devotion, ask for an outpouring of His Spirit to grow us in prayer and discipline, cutting away at those things which keep us from Him. And during these 40 days, we hope that our cold hearts will thaw and new life will grow again.
I am reminded of Eliot's opening lines of the The Wasteland:

APRIL is the cruellest month, breeding

Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing

Memory and desire, stirring

Dull roots with spring rain.

Winter kept us warm, covering

Earth in forgetful snow, feeding

A little life with dried tubers.

In Spring/Lent we see life bloom from the dust, the dead and the dry. And the often painful process of bringing forth new life out of the dead land of our hearts may cause us to wish to stay covered in the "forgetful snow." Yet the littlest signs of new life bring us courage and perseverance.

I had an unexpected chance to go on a little nature walk this past week at the enchanting Valley Garden Park. We were without our older two and heading to the Brandywine River Museum to view their three generations of Wyeths (worth the trip if you live in the area). When my romantic hubby made a stop a place so enchanting a friend told me her children called it Narnia. Perhaps it was that the visit was unexpected, perhaps that it was our first warm day, perhaps because we were without kids, but this walk filled me with hope.

Though the snow was melting, I doubted we would yet see anything green. But there in the midst of dead grass, frozen ice and and dry earth was life bursting forth all around us:

And I felt hope. Hope that this long winter would soon be over. Hope that from dried tubers new life would bloom. Hope that though it is Lent, it will soon be Easter.

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