I’ve decided to cancel Lent next year. I’m pretty sure, as a (still) ordained part-time Mennonite pastor, I have that kind of power. I mean, I have a card in my wallet signed by the conference minister. So be looking for the headlines: No Lent Next Year.
Last year a dear church member and friend went into the hospital on Good Friday. It was the beginning of her final round with cancer. Before worship on Easter morning several of us sang and read scripture with her in her hospital room.
This year, it was during Lent when my dad went into the hospital. A week and a half after my mom had smeared ashes on his forehead and told him: “From dust you have come and to dust you shall return.” We buried his ashes last week.
I’m done with Lent. I am going to close my eyes and hold on tight and just ride out this last heavy surge of darkness until I can open my eyes on Easter morning to a shining sun and singing birds–to light and life and no more Lent. (Ever. Because I’m cancelling it next year, remember.)
Of course, Lola will still not be here to sing Praise God from Whom with us as our Easter benediction. My dad will still not call me on the phone later that day to say “Rock Chalk Jayhawk” when KU wins their game. (Just let me live my fantasy for now.)
But still, I want Easter. I want it desperately. I want the flowers and the music and the stories and The Story. And, yes, the chocolate.
In the meantime, I keep breathing.
[You can read some thought-provoking monologues from characters inhabiting the stories of this Holy Week over on our church blog. I commend them to you.]