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Lent is a Personal Journey, by David Fulk

Well, it’s that time of year again. After Advent, Christmas and Epiphany, we are now journeying through Lent toward Holy Week and Easter.

My first experience with Lent was in high school when I attended church in Weston. From there, my understanding of the season expanded as I came to William Jewell and 2BC. But it was during my five years as the interim music director at Grace Episcopal Church here in Liberty that I came to deeply love this season.

In our culture of immediate gratification, perfection, and exuberant happiness, the Lenten season calls us to cut through these veneers with honesty about our relationship with God to realize we are not perfect, that we are called not only to follow, but to defer, surrender, and humble ourselves.

We deliberately sing songs in minor keys, in slower, more thoughtful, tempos. We read scriptures on suffering and pray prayers of confession with pleas for forgiveness. All of this is designed to help us prepare for the pain and suffering Jesus endured in Holy Week—for us.

And in doing so, we will then feel the joy and exultation of Easter morning. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

It’s early into Lent—still time to get our thinking and emotions prepared. Here are some ways to do it. Be intentional. Do acts of kindness, deny yourself some pleasure, create a personal time for silent reflection and prayer. In all things do more listening than talking. While many of these activities are designed to be done privately, there are also opportunities to be on this journey with others.

Wednesday Evensongs will enrich our season with prayer, singing, and reflection. One of my favorite things to do in Lent is attending fish fry dinners at St. James parish. It’s a time to be with friends and other people of faith also on this journey. Give it a try…every other Friday (Feb.23, March 9 and 23, serving 5-8 p.m.). It can be crowded, but it’s worth the good food, fellowship, and the hospitality of the Knights of Columbus. Maybe this will be the year I actually have buttons made proclaiming, “I’m a Fish Fry Baptist!”

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