07-Lent: Gone is the Light

This Lent for Skeptics entry has been written by Kyla Neufeld, the managing editor of Geez

Dear fellow wanderers,

We’ve made it to the last week of Lent. Here in Winnipeg, after a long winter, we’re just now seeing the snow start to melt; puddles line the sidewalks and streets, and the geese are flying back. How fitting that the season of self-denial corresponds with a time when we ache for warmer temperatures.

For me, Lent has only become a regular seasonal observance in the last few years. I grew up in an evangelical church where Lent was never even mentioned; we went from Advent and Christmas and skipped right to Easter. During my university years, Lent was mentioned by work colleagues and friends, but only in the sense that they were giving up coffee or chocolate. There was no talk about why or for what purpose.

When I started attending an Anglican church four years ago, Lent suddenly became a thing, an important thing in the church year. As with other church seasons, the liturgy changes; the word “alleluia” disappears (and won’t appear again until Easter Sunday). At my own church, we observe Lent by ending each Sunday with the same song, written by Gord Johnson.

Into the darkness we must go;
gone, gone is the light.
Into the darkness we must go;
gone, gone is the light.

Jesus remember me
when you enter your kingdom;
Jesus remember me
when your kingdom comes.

Father forgive them
they know not what they do;
Father forgive them
they know not what they do.

Gone, gone is the light.
Gone, gone is the light.

We also put emphasis on adding something, like meditation or personal reading, as a way to mark the season.

Lent is a deeply important time of reflection and repentance, of forgiveness and absolution, and I wonder if its placement in the church calendar is partly to prepare us for Holy week. Yes, this period symbolizes the 40 days of temptation Jesus spent in the desert, and we give up something (or take on something) to follow his example. But, isn’t the purpose of this time also to prepare us for the week to come? Palm Sunday is this coming Sunday. After it comes Maundy Thursday and Good Friday, during which we remember the events of the passover and Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. I can’t imagine going straight from ordinary time, or a season of celebration, into that darkness. We take the quiet 40 days of Lent to reflect and repent in order to prepare ourselves, to put ourselves in the right posture, for the coming sorrow of Good Friday.

— Kyla Neufeld, and your friends at Geez.


Return to Lent index page
Editor of Lent for Skeptics: lentforskeptics [at] geezmagazine [dot] org

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