There is a perspective on the season of Lent that sees it simply in terms of grim self-denial; a time to “byt vas” and prove your mettle in keeping your resolve to give up some cherished thing. Of course there is value in self-denial when we embrace it out of the right motivation, but there is much more to Lent than just this.
God works in seasons. He created a world which moves through spring, summer, autumn and winter. He created day and night. He worked with the nation of Israel according to their great annual festivals and the observances and rituals that accompanied each of them. He also works, I believe, through the rhythms of the Church’s year as we engage with them appropriately.

As high-tech people we seem less committed to a seasonal understanding of life than God is. Electric light means we have changed our rhythms of rest and sleep and can create a form of perpetual day. Through air conditioning and central heating we can create a permanently temperate year. Sunday as a day of laying down busy-ness and commercial activity is a relic of the past. The festivals of the ecclesiastical year are now observed only by a faithful few. Everything is ironed out to a sameness that serves efficiency and predictability but doesn’t do much for our souls.

I have been drawn again to the iconic passage from Ecclesiastes 3

“For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.
A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to harvest.
A time to kill and a time to heal. A time to tear down and a time to build up.
A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.

A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
A time to search and a time to quit searching.
A time to keep and a time to throw away.
A time to tear and a time to mend. A time to be quiet and a time to speak.

A time to love and a time to hate. A time for war and a time for peace.”

This is an understanding of time that is seasonal rather than simply chronological. It suggests that rightly discerning the seasons of your life and living in harmony with them is the key to living well and wisely. If we live “out of sync” with the seasons of our lives we become subject to stress, frustration, self-destruction, broken relationships and all sorts of spiritual maladies.

Lent is a season that invites us to intentionally create the spaces in which we are able to realign our souls. In the old days of manually tuning transistor radios by carefully turning the dial, or doing something similar with the first generation of TVs, we had a better understanding of the sensitive art of good tuning and how much better our reception was when we got it right.

I see Lent as an invitation into a type of extended Sabbath. Just as every observant Jewish home carefully plans and prepares for Shabbat and looks forward to its coming with joyous anticipation, so we should approach this season. Music, reading, convivial friendship, the outdoors, creative expression, solitude – all manner of things can be “in spanned” to the service of peace and the well-being of our souls. As such, they can create the inner space where it is easier for us to meet with God. It is this that makes Lent a season that I always look forward to with anticipation. I wish us all a Lent that has this character to it.

Taryn Galloway, 16/02/2018


Christ Church Kenilworth  |  Cnr Summerley & Richmond Road  |  Tel: +27 (021) 797 6332  | E-mail: reception@cck.org.za
Service Times: Sunday Worship  8.00am, 10.00am & 6.30pm  |  Wednesday Service: 10am   | Tuesday Quiet Service: 6.30pm (fortnightly)

Taryn Galloway, 06/05/2015