Lent

We’re now counting the days to Easter
(forty of them not counting Sundays).

But we’re not counting days that count
by any particular criteria—
by anyone’s measure,
but rather counting days precisely because each one counts—
immeasurably.

Sure we don’t always see that.

It’s like getting ready for vacation,
and you count the days until it’s here—
as if it’s only the vacation days that count.
And then you count how many days of vacation you have—
with joy, at first, and with growing dismay,
as you realize you’re inexorably counting down the days
until vacation’s over,
and it’s almost painful because every day counts so much.
Then, vacation over, if you’re like me,
you count how many days ago vacation was.
You relive the past week in your new week—
on this day last week, we were …—
as if it’s only the vacation days that count.

So how do we count days
that maybe don’t really count
in our own minds?
Can we make our days count by counting them—
all of them—each of them?

If so, how?

Well, maybe by expecting them to—count, that is.
And we live expectantly—
we look ahead to each day with expectation—
with anticipation.
What will this day bring?
And then we reflect on each day—we look back on it—
again with expectation—
both looking for and expecting to find
the evidence of God with us
we may or may not have noticed—
may or may not have claimed in the lived moment.

So I propose a Lenten practice—
a Lenten discipline
to add to the rhythm of these forty days.
I propose first, a prayer at the outset of day—
when we’re still in bed—or right after we get up.
What gift will today offer me?
Open my eyes, God, that I might see
today’s unique opportunity.

And then, second, an intentional reflection
at the end of the day—in bed—
or right before lying down.
What happened today?
How was God present with me?
How do I name God out of today’s experience?

Lenten days will thus be thrice lived—
once in anticipation,
once in the moment,
and once in reflection.

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3 thoughts on “Lent

  1. Thank you John. You can always be counted on to help those of us who want/need structure to fully live these liturgical seasons.

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