Dear Easter People:
If you didn’t grow up in a Catholic or liturgical church, you may be unfamiliar with Ash Wednesday and Lent. Ash Wednesday (March 5) ushers in the 40 days of the Lenten season (with Sundays off to celebrate the reality of our Resurrected Lord) culminating in the Church’s most hopeful day of the year—Easter (April 20).
Growing up Catholic and attending parochial schools, the question was always, “So, what are you giving up for Lent?” After joking about giving up baths (although I am not sure about some of the boys in my class), most of us settled on soft drinks or candy. The really holy ones—the ones trying to get in good with the Sisters—would give up television or teasing their little brothers and sisters. I did not connect fasting from something I liked with renewed focusing on Jesus Christ, and his life, death and resurrection. I mostly focused on the Easter basket to come where I could make up for what I had given up. Then, for many years, I never thought of Lent, and Easter snuck up on me and I was sad because I was missed being ready for the best day of the year.
So as a Catholic-turned-Protestant longing for my liturgical roots, I am hitting the replay button on Lent. Lent can be a powerful season, no matter what your church background, if you approach it freshly, humbly and honestly. Think of it as a time to:
Repent: What’s become more important than Jesus Christ? What have you become too dependent on to make it through your days?
Return: It’s not just a boot camp to deny yourself but a turning to Jesus in your need and returning to the core of how He has formed you and wants to use you. Many of us need this season to remember and return.
Refocus: The world invites you to distract yourself to death. Where do you need to refocus as you look forward to Easter and our eternal Easter?
Renew: God is redeeming our world and we are each called to contribute a verse—to paraphrase from the Dead Poet’s Society. What is your verse, your song, your picture, your story, your creation? Where do you need to have the faith and courage to create as you repent, return and refocus on Jesus Christ? Where do you long to be renewed?
InSpero’s Easter People Project is simply a Lenten invitation to you individually and in community to repent, return, refocus, and renew—not just by denying yourself (although that is a powerful tool if it makes you depend on Jesus Christ more) but also by creating space for God in your busy lives, and by allowing you to respond to him with whatever talent or creative activity or outreach the Spirit may lead you to do.
I have included 40 verses to meditate, soak in, ponder, consider, journal about, and create in response to. These will be posted on our Easter People Facebook page (linked in with our InSpero Facebook page) and will be on our InSpero website, www.inspero.org. Please “like” our InSpero Facebook page and our Easter People page.
Through our Easter People Facebook page, you can share in the context of “cyber” community some of your Lenten creative offerings, such as paintings, drawings, photos, poems, wonderings, etc. Please consider that everything you post must be appropriate for all ages and honoring to Christ in a public format.
We will gather together to celebrate on Holy Saturday (April 19) to acknowledge the reality of where we live—between Good Friday and Easter Sunday. We’ve experienced the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ and some of our own little “deaths.” We embrace the hope of Jesus Christ’s resurrection. But we live and wait in the tension (which is another definition for faith!) to experience that coming glorious Easter Day of Christ’s return and our resurrection and the redemption of our world where as Julian of Norwich says, “All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well.”
We are also exploring a creative Pentecost Outpouring where we can celebrate visual arts, music, dance and some of your offerings to bless our city. More to come as we pray and plan for this event.
What is God calling you to let go of? To return to? To offer to Him and to others? How will you get ready for the great hope of Easter? And how can InSpero’s creative community help you in this journey?
Let’s begin living like the Easter People we already are.