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My Patchwork Lent

by Corrie Cabes

A few years back, Heavenly Rest offered a “Patchwork Passion” with music and readings, piecing together a meditative offering during Lent. I too have been interested in the word “patchwork” for the Lenten season. However, this does not mean that I am suggesting you pick and choose on a whim what worship services and Lenten practices you observe this season.

As Episcopalians, we often appreciate the form and function of our liturgy. And during Lent, we pray the Great Litany, a prayer that joins our lives together; recognizing every condition, and all the things we may face in this mortal life. We ask God to enter, with mercy and great love. When we do this, we may find that we can see the world differently, with hearts unfolding, and souls in need of refreshment.

Could Lent become a time where you examine and hold your experiences up, turning them a bit, seeing that each day is leading you to the very heart of God? Is this season where you are reminded that God is often found in the ordinary conversation while waiting in line at a coffee shop, or even in the lonely, or uncomfortable places we might avoid going? Lent is the season for our lives to take on the shape of the cross, moment by moment.

We are creating our own “patchwork” Lent, whether we know it or not. The experiences of this season don’t always seem to fit together, but we discover that the edges somehow meet, that God makes meaning out of our lives, hearing our deepest desire as believers, and responding. God will come to us, leading us to places where we will be invited to take up our cross. My Lent will be different from yours, but together, we will find it to be a holy season of repentance and renewal for our faith community. My prayer is that you will hold this season close, that you will let it drape you, wrapping you in God’s sacrificial love. May you come away from this season, different, transformed, and always with the knowledge that you are loved.

Madeleine L’Engle offers an insightful poem that I hope will help you embrace this season as something new to be explored, to be pieced together. This is your patchwork Lent.

“For Lent, 1966”

It is my Lent to break my Lent,

To eat when I would fast,

To know when slender strength is spent,

Take shelter from the blast

When I would run with wind and rain,

To sleep when I would watch.

It is my Lent to smile at pain

But not ignore its touch.

It is my Lent to listen well

When I would be alone,

To talk when I would rather dwell

In silence, turn from none

Who call on me, to try to see

That what is truly meant

Is not my choice. If Christ’s I’d be

It’s thus I’ll keep my Lent.

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