I know this sounds strange….

…but I love Lent. Always have. I like the tonic of the thing. I love the reminder of death. I love the push toward facing our elemental weakness. I love the realism of it: “Remember, O Man, that you are dust and to dust you will return”.

Spoiler alert

Saw “Chronicle” the other night and really appreciated it. After endless superhero movies where the hero Finds His Strength Within Himself and Triumphs Over Evil, what I appreciated about Chronicle is that it is, in the final analysis, a tragedy in which a good but flawed young man is destroyed by hubris and the interior demons he cannot overcome with mere power. Our pop culture doesn’t go much for tragedy, because we don’t go much for facing sin. We prefer to be told that we can save ourselves by Our Goodness Within. Chronicle (and all good tragedies) remind us that this ain’t so. We require grace. A good solid message for Lent.

Here’s reality: Human beings, working together with good community organizers, and following the Wisdom of the Voters and the very best that popular piety, sound civic common sense, and the best of human wisdom have, time and again, shouted “Give us Barabbas!” and chosen to crucify the innocent Son of God. It’s what we do.

  • Faith Roberts

    I’m not familiar with Chronicle, but I too have always loved Lent. Even during the years when I was agnostic, I still would mark the time by at least trying to understand what I couldn’t bring myself to believe and I’d often find myself going to Church or Stations. All I did was weep because I felt so alienated and lost and consumed by doubt, but Lent was always like a gravitational force for my soul. After years of darkness, I finally saw the light.

  • Tammy

    Love of self does NOT overcome in the end, in fact it destroys…good lesson. When Whitney Houston released that glurge of a song “Greatest Love of all” back in the day, I hated it and now I hate all the reprisals of it in the wake of the poor woman’s death. The Greatest Love of All is in fact the love God showed for us by His sacrifice and Lent is a good time to learn that on a deeper level.

    I try hard to live a Christian life everyday, so Lent is a struggle for me…how to I ratchet it up? I normally feel quite the Lenten failure, but perhaps the reminder of my inadequacy can be a positive lesson in humility.

    So Im going to get up from this chair and strive to serve and love and care about those God asks me to tend for Him. I know that my life is being spent (and I do mean spent as in using and giving up something we have a finite amount of) doing His will. Funny thing though…if you saw my trappings, you might assume I am a self absorbed suburbanite…Im hiding my striving for Saintly virtue under a cloak of typical American foolishness…and you don’t know who I am…you never know who you are interacting…gosh that is fun when you think about it

    • Marty Helgesen

      Since you say you love Lent I will post a song I wrote, which I have posted elsewhere in the past.

      Some years ago an Episcopalian friend at work, who was born Jewish and raised as an atheist or agnostic, was complaining that Christmas isn’t the only Christian holiday that’s been commercialized. Easter has, too, with the emphasis on fashions. She said her favorite season is Lent because it’s completely spiritual. (It is hard to commercialize a season based on penance and self-denial.) Completelyignoring her real reason for liking Lent and the context of the original song I wrote the following words to the tune of “Raindrops on Roses” from _The Sound of Music_:

      Sackcloth and ashes, and days without eating,
      Mortification and nights without sleeping,
      A hair shirt that scratches, a nettle that stings,
      These are a few of my favorite things.

      When it’s Christmas,
      When the tree’s lit,
      When the cards are sent,
      I simply remember my favorite things,
      And then I can’t wait till Lent.

      As I said, I’ve posted it elsewhere and some people have added verses to it. This is the original.

      Marty Helgesen
      Mygmailuseridis mnhccatcunyvm

      Live Lent in the fast lane.

      • Hezekiah Garrett

        I have one counter example, but dont tell your friend.

        Because we spend so much time on the road just riding in circles it seems, and we dont make great pay, medics pay closer attention to fast food signs than most folks in my experience. And one thing I have noticed is that fast food joints start advertising big deals on their fish sammy combos around 2/1.

        By the time the 1st Friday in Lent rolls around, I already know where I am eating lunches for the next 6 weeks.

  • Consistency

    Have you seen The Grey? Pretty interesting character piece. Good, but not great. I do generally like Liam Neeson although apparently he has really struggled with his faith since his wife died.

  • http://thepulp.it/ Tito Edwards

    I saw Chronicle as well and for a Sci-Fi flick, the ending was realistic. Too many in popular culture are fed the line that “we found the strength within me”, ie, we can do all things on our own (Will to Power kinda thing).

    When in reality, nothing can be achieved without God.

  • Dr. Eric

    I also love Lent. I’m wearing a purple shirt and tie underneath my clinic jacket.

  • Rabdo

    *more spoilers*

    And how fun/cool was the scene where they learned to fly!