“I invite you, therefore, in the name of the Church, to the observance of a holy Lent,” the pastor paused for breath and stretched out his hands to the congregation, trying by the power of his will to disbar the sleep from their eyes, for it was only seven in the morning, and a miracle that any of them were there at the appointed time. His voice called across the empty pews, “by self-examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting, and almsgiving; and by reading and meditating on God’s holy Word.” The assembled ten people, bilious from the carb-laden stupor of previous evening’s Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper, wrestled their wandering minds to the liturgical mat and began to confess their sins.
It is an ancient practice — the observation of Lent — and one that for many, especially in the apocalypse of COVID-19, is falling by the way. It is becoming a vestigial yet beautiful anachronism for which formerly religious people feel nostalgia, without being able to remember why they obeyed when the church called for their penitent attention.
This Postmodern Realities episode is a conversation with Journal author Anne Kennedy about her online-exclusive article, “Haven’t We All Sacrificed Enough: A Christian Tries to Observe Lent”.
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