Lenctening days

February 24, 2012

No, that’s not a typo.

Recently I learned that the word “Lent” comes from the Old
English ‘lencten,’ which sounds a lot like “lengthen” and, not
incidentally, was the Old English word for Spring–-that time when the
days, well, lengthen.

Despite the admiration
I’ve always had for traditional Lenten disciplines, this time of
year–-when I forget to start dinner on time because the growing evening
light tricks me, when I’m drawn from sleep by the unexpected brightness
of the morning sun–-this time of year tends to make me a bit giddy.
Meditating on dust returning to dust seems opposite to how I feel when spring is, well, lenctening. Springing.

But maybe that’s reasonable. Lent is the season where deadness
springs to life: snowdrops, crocuses, and daffodils cautiously raise
their green and brilliant heads, stoic strawberry leaves unfold and
tentatively sent out runners, tired, swollen goats bend to release their
burdens in bringing forth light-footed young.

At this time everything in nature seems to be stretching and yawning
awake after a long sleep, lively after months of sluggish drowsing.

Maybe Lent serves as a counterpoint to all this; a reminder that even as the grass “flourishes and is renewed” in the morning, “in the evening it fades and withers.” That God alone is everlasting.

It’s a sobering thought, but somehow, a joyful one. And so I hope this Lent not to curtail or cut back but to lencten: to take joy and satisfaction in God and in God’s gift of each lengthening, springing, light-filled moment.

Originally posted at Eat With Joy!

Comments

Lenctening days

Curious to know what it is like to experience Lent (and Advent) "down under" when the natural season and the liturgical season are out of synch from a Northern hemisphere point of view