The Lenten Spring (Training)


“The Lenten spring has come – the light of repentance.” This is a line from just one of the many hymns that describe this Lenten season using the analogy of the change of seasons happening around us as we emerge from winter. There is something refreshing about spring (even if our winter doesn’t seem to be sure if it’s coming or going!). The thought of spring evokes quiet images of flowers emerging, trees budding and birds singing. Although there is much activity and energy, it is also a quiet, peaceful time.

For those engaged in the discipline of Great Lent, the analogy continues to hold true.  Busy, but calm; intense, but serene. It makes sense then that those who have attended the singing of the Great Canon of St. Andrew of Crete this week find themselves both in the peaceful “spring time of the soul” of a Lenten service, and at the same time, engaged in the workout of prostrations and metanias that feel more like a Detroit Tigers spring training workout!

Nothing important happens without effort in any areas of our life, be it work, sports, relationships, etc. Spring cleaning of our homes has a beautiful result but not without the many hours of mopping, wiping, and reorganizing. Lent is filled with moments of calm and renewal, peace and beauty but only if we undertake the efforts to enable those moments.

So let’s embrace the paradox of Great Lent: the hard work of fasting, rearranging schedules to attend more services and turning more of our attention away from ourselves and toward those in need, all of which bring rest and peace. This is made possible by the simplification of our lives and the “giving up” of some of our luxuries. And let’s face it: these luxuries always provide more CLUTTER than the comfort they promised anyway.

If we can do this, we’ll find stillness in the midst of effort and tranquility in the midst of busyness. Our souls have suffered from a long, cold winter brought by our stubbornness and selfishness. Let’s be refreshed by the renewal of repentance and the refreshment of the warmth of the Spirit who comes to bring us new life. The Lenten Spring has come!