I did not grow up in a highly liturgical church, so when I first began observing Lent, I thought of it as a 40 day block from start to finish. Whatever I gave up or took on or otherwise practiced, I did it straight on from Ash Wednesday till Easter.
Then I began attending an Episcopalian church where folks are old pros at practicing Lent. They shared some interesting info with me..
Lent doesn’t really include Sundays. I am not even sure if the Sundays are counted in the 40 days.
I mean Sundays are affected by Lent as we put up all the golden worship accouterments during Lent, say the confession every week, and don’t sing the Alleluia, but still. Sundays are different than other days during Lent.
If you have given up something for Lent, you may enjoy it on Sunday. Sundays are a day to take it a little easier, to be more joyful. To celebrate a little.
Because as one of my priests told us, every Sunday is a little Easter.
And Easters are for celebrating.
Feasting, not fasting.
I remember the year we gave up eating out for Lent and gave the money we saved to a hunger initiative. We still went out to eat after church every Sunday, because, well, little Easter.
I enjoyed those casual meals out as much or more than I have any fine dining experience. Because they were special. The exception.
Maybe that is part of why we fast from things. So that the feast has meaning.
When all of life is feast, we take the celebration for granted. It becomes more selfish gluttony than an intentional, joy-filled moment.
When all of life is fast we may get grim or self-righteous. Or just plain worn down by the effort of it all.
I hope you take a note from my Episcopalian friends and don’t forget to enjoy the little Easters each Sunday during Lent. In fact, they may become some of the more meaningful moments of your Lenten journey.
Happy Sunday Everyone!