DRE’s Message – Lent Unitarian Universalist Style

Let us hope that the rains continue to come this Spring, making the earth green again-readying the earth to start anew.  We are at a time in the Christian liturgical calendar called Lent.  For those of you who are unfamiliar with this observance, a little explanation is in order.  Lent begins 40 days before Easter on Ash Wednesday.  Commonly, people have been asked to sacrifice something in their lives that they care about in order to take on more prayer or spiritual practice.  It has been an observance to call attention to the importance of giving something up, letting it go to take care of ourselves.

One year, a colleague of mine framed Lent in a totally different way.  For some folks, Lent can be a time of taking something new on.  The idea is that if you start something new and do it for the forty days of Lent, you begin to get in the habit of doing it and may incorporate it into your life after Easter has come.

For some Unitarian Universalists, the thought of observing Lent is a challenging one.  Many of us do not identify as Christians, some have hurtful experiences with Christianity.  When I first heard about this observance, I was resistant to it.  It was something I had never tried before, since it had not been part of my worshipping community growing up.

Lent is a time for increased spiritual practice and who doesn’t need that?  In the wake of the devastation in Japan, the protests going on in the Midwest, Egypt, and Libya, we are in need of some extra special self-care.  Whether it is meditating, walking, praying, writing, or movement, now is a time for us to care for our spirits.  This observance can call us out of our busy schedules to pay attention to our feelings, our bodies, and our hearts.

What would you like to take on?  What would you like to give up?

As Spring is a time for new beginnings for the earth, it can be a time for new beginnings for us too.  Lent doesn’t have to be about giving something we enjoy up, it can also be about shedding negative habits.  One of my colleagues wrote on Facebook this year that she will be giving up self-doubt.  What a powerful statement.  Giving up self-doubt to focus on spiritual practice and care of the soul.  May that habit stick with her throughout the year.

Although Lent began in the middle of March, it is not too late to start by thinking about what you would be willing to give up or to take on until Easter comes on April 24th.  May your Spring be full of new beginnings and care for your soul.