Beloved, this isn’t the year to give up.

It’s not the year to deprive yourself of the little joys to which we’ve clung.

It’s not the year to focus on mortality, to sit in the ash heap, or to wallow in the depth of sin and brokenness.

This is the year to remember that from dust were you born. And reborn.

Created and recreated.

Formed and reformed.

This is the year for something life giving and spirit fulfilling.

This is the year to commit to a practice that brings a bit more joy, a bit more hope, a bit more promise.

Let this Lent be an intentional walk toward Sunday. Not a somber journey toward Friday.

Let this Lent remind us of the spring that is surely coming.

Let this Lent be the one in which we remember that out of the ashes comes new life – unbidden, surprising, and desperately needed.


Thanks to Rev. Libby Shannon, Eckerd College Chaplain, and the Director of the Office for Advocacy and Gender Justice, for her timely writing.

This year, maybe we don’t need to give up something extra, or take on something new.  Life is hard enough as it is.  Let’s just let Lent be Lent – let the readings and the symbols and Jesus speak to us, right where we are, about what we’re going through.

Jesus went through the wilderness, and more.  Let’s be patient and take these days step by step, hour by hour.  New life will come.  And who knows – our pandemic-blasted hearts may love and hope more powerfully than content and confident hearts ever could.  Our lives are a Lent these days, but that’s not the end of the story.

These days, as we mourn over 500,000 deaths at home, the world grieves for millions.  These February days are full of waiting.  We wait for vaccines, and we wait for the coming of spring.  Even now, while we wait, God offers us the promise of new life.

If you’re seeking a faith ritual in Lent, try this simple practice:

Place a bowl of water by your front or back door.

Every time you enter and exit, dip your finger in the water. Sprinkle some on your face, or draw a heart on your forehead, or make the sign of the cross.  Remember that you are claimed, and loved: “You are God’s beloved!”


These days, what gives you hope? Let us know in the comment section.


-Written by Ann Palmerton



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  1. Debbie Lewicki February 24, 2021 at 11:46 am - Reply

    Last week, during a conversation about how we were observing Lent, a wise friend suggested that this year, we “just let Lent be Lent. We’ve spent so much time this past year taking on and letting go. I’m tired of that. Let’s just let the scripture, the songs, the symbols, and Jesus himself speak to us of their promise that something new will be born. After all, Lent is seeded with resurrection; so let’s just let Lent be Lent.”

  2. Matthew Vacca February 24, 2021 at 4:09 pm - Reply

    This is wonderful! My sister works at Eckerd College, but this is the first I’ve heard of Rev. Shannon. Thank you for sharing.

  3. Carol Owens February 25, 2021 at 2:20 pm - Reply


  4. Annette kuss February 27, 2021 at 12:51 pm - Reply

    I move steadily toward independence from the wheelchair to walker and now finally to walking sticks.

  5. Barb Sahr February 28, 2021 at 11:14 am - Reply

    Hurray, Annette, so glad to hear this!

  6. Ann February 28, 2021 at 9:03 pm - Reply

    Hearing that gives us all hope, Annette! Your steady bravery is inspiring…

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