For Christians everywhere, Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the “bright sadness” of Lent. The Orthodox theologian Alexander Schmemann originally described the paradox of Lent in this way, capturing well these two very different emotions that we experience throughout the Christian life–and especially during the days of preparation before Easter. On the one hand, because it’s a penitential season, we’re acutely aware of the mess that we have made of our own lives as well as the brokenness of our world. On the other hand, in the midst of the darkness, we experience God’s brightness all the more clearly. Anglican pastor Arthur Bennett captured this paradox in a prayer called The Valley of Vision: “Lord, in the daytime stars can be seen from deepest wells, and the deeper the wells the brighter your stars shine; Let me find your light in my darkness…” Through the bright sadness of this season, may God grant us deep and lasting renewal, so that we might shine like stars–the light of the world, for the life of the world.
Join us in observing Lent this year. It’s not too late to participate and make the most of this season. Here are some resources for making the most of the Lenten season:
The Good of Giving Up. Aaron Damiani is the Rector of Immanuel Anglican in Chicago, and formerly on the pastoral staff at Church of the Resurrection. He is the author of a great new book on Lent called The Good of Giving Up. Bishop Steve Breedlove reviewed Aaron’s book here.
Lenten Meditation. Here’s a terrific meditation on Lent from acclaimed theologian Peter Leithart, who will be at Resurrection during the first weekend in May.