I asked the kids at church if they knew what Lent is recently. One of their hands shot way up in the air and they proudly responded, “It’s the time of the year Mommy gives up chocolate and gets kind of grouchy.”
I must confess: I laughed and laughed and laughed because, for so many of us, Lent is synonymous with giving up our favorite treats in a kind of modern day martyrdom of self-sacrificing glory. And, while I support your choice to give up your daily latte, or set down your peanut butter cups for Lent, that particular practice misses the mark for me a little bit.
We live in a weary, rough, and tiring world - and, now more than ever, we need glimpses of mercy, justice, and beauty. We need the kind of radical hope that can only come from following Jesus into the wilderness, right into the heart of the valley of the shadow of death.
At its best, Lent calls us to take responsibility for the wilderness. It calls us to do more than just flirt with the life changing holiness that was Jesus’ life and to dance with it; to dive right into the deep end of faith and come up drenched in the waters of baptism and gulping for air that smells of both dirt and newness of life.
But first, we have to walk right into the heart of racism; call out that sin; and declare, with Jesus and all the Prophets, that Black Lives Matter. Then, we have to walk right into the heart of war and beat those swords (and guns!) into plowshares. And, after that, we have to welcome the stranger, the refugee, the unhoused one, the one swimming away from war with nothing left but a shard of hope in a new future, and offer them a place to lay their weary heads...
Lent is hard work and that's why we made this short film - to encourage one another on this Lenten journey of truth-telling and coming back to life:
So, please consider purchasing an HD version of SALT's Lenten Prayer to show in worship, in Sunday School, on your Lenten leadership retreat, or just embed it into your FB page to encourage your friends and family on the journey so that together we might create, with God, a world where love and loveliness abound.
The SALT Team
p.s. A big SALT "thank you" to the talented and lovely Penelope Dullaghan for helping us make this beautiful art together!