My first Sunday back is the first Sunday in Lent (note it is the first Sunday in Lent, not the first Sunday of Lent . . . a subtle but very significant difference) which leads me to the yearly question, why “do” Lent? Do we have to observe some Lenten exercise? Is it required by any ecclesiastical body that can tell us what to do? Will we get in trouble if we don’t? The answers are, no, no and still no. We are not required to do anything about Lent . . . but we should.
There are many reasons to observe Lent; identification with the suffering of Christ and preparation for Easter are two of the more common ones. What I talked about today is a little different: we “do” Lent because it reminds us that our situation, unpleasant or otherwise, is never permanent. There is more to it but you need to listen to one or the other, or both, for the rest.