This week we prepared for Lent by looking at one of the paintings and scripture reflections from the Sanctified Art "Unraveled" Series, pictured above, that we've been using in worship this year. We began by unpacking a few of the terms that we often hear repeated during Lent--like "Lent" (which simply means "spring"), "Ash Wednesday" and fasting... it was interesting to see that we all had different understandings of what these words, days, seasons and practices mean and are supposed to mean.
We also talked about what we might want Lent to mean to us this year--if we were thinking about giving things up or taking something on as part of our practice. And it was especially eye opening to think about these things alongside Paul's conversion... The Apostle Paul is so widely known, and has so many things named after him in churches, it can be easy to forget that he very publicly persecuted Christians before he became an apostle or a saint or a name most of the world knows. Lent is a thoughtful time to talk about this as Paul's religious practices have brought life and death to others. We concluded that Lent should make us aware of our neighbors's lives, in addition to making us aware of God's presence in our lives.