Date: March 13, 2011
Liturgical Sunday: First Sunday in Lent
Sermon Title: Lent is a choice
Knox Presbyterian [audio:https://wordsfromthemiddle.ca/wp-content/uploads/110313_-_Knox.mp3|titles=Lent is a choice]
St. Mark’s Presbyterian [audio:https://wordsfromthemiddle.ca/wp-content/uploads/110313_-_St_Marks.mp3|titles=Lent is a choice]
Well here we are, the first Sunday in Lent. Not the first Sunday of Lent, as to the best of my knowledge Sundays are not part of Lent. Lent is around these Sundays; Lent envelopes them without overcoming them; Sundays are days of hope . . . no matter what the season of the year.
As you will hear if you choose [smirk] to listen to either of these two sermons, I did not grow up with Lent and as such Lent was something that I had to very explicitly work into my understanding of the church year. My growing up church experience was all too prepared to write of most of the church/liturgical year as nonsense, or all to frequently papist claptrap . . . as if the Reformation was still happening with the outcome in doubt in our small corner of prairie Canada.
I had originally titled this sermon “So it’s Lent; now what?” and I was prepared to go with that until Saturday when I realized that that did not get at our RCL texts at all. The Old Testament lesson and the Gospel lesson are both very much about choice. Part of me was going to stick with the first title because, after all it was on the web site and everything and once something is in print, is published it can’t be changed . . . of course. What foolishness! I would like to say I received a vision to change the title but that would do significant violence to visions by trivializing them.
I am curious to see/hear what anyone out there might think about the notion of Lent being a choice and what that says for us, to us and about us.
PS I have very few real regrets about not getting on this blog until I did except every time I feel there might be a qualitative difference between the sermons. I regret it because I have very clear memories of both Knox and St. Mark’s getting the much better sermon on particular Sundays and this Sunday ____ church got the better one. This happens frequently so I’m not going to beat myself up over it and for that matter . . . the simple fact that I think one is better than the other is so minor an evaluation that it barely bears on the subject. If you are so inclined as to weigh in on which is better, please feel free to do so . . . just give your reasons why (which are blissfully free of the possibility of me judging them) so I can learn and grow and all of us can see what we may have missed.