As Charlie Clauss reminds us in this podcast, the Book of Common Prayer offers a beautiful invitation (voiced by the minister at the Ash Wednesday service) to enter into Lent:
I invite you, therefore, in the name of the Church, to the
observance of a holy Lent, by self-examination and repentance;
by prayer, fasting, and self-denial; and by reading and
meditating on God's holy Word. And, to make a right beginning
of repentance, and as a mark of our mortal nature, let us now
kneel before the Lord, our maker and redeemer.
In that spirit, Charlie and host Mike Schutt discuss the whats and whys of this important season of the church year. What is Lent? What practices are usually associated with Lent? Why might Christians considering this season, and what tips might we give to those entering into these practices for the first time?
Join Charlie and Mike as they consider these questions and more.
As you think about pushing into this season with new practices, remember to take Charlie's advice: this can't be about you-- it's not a legalistic obligation, nor is it a challenge to conquer for your "spiritual checklist." This is the road to guilt or to pride. Rather, Lent is a time to consider the love of God manifested on the Cross and displayed in the power of the resurrection!
Among other things, Lent is a season that helps us to celebrate Holy Week and Easter more fully. And don't forget, as Charlie reminds us: Easter is a fifty-day party! Please celebrate fully!
After you listen, consider some of the books suggested by our friend Byron Borger at Hearts & Minds Books in his Booknotes Blog: 2017 Books for Lent.
Charlie Clauss is married to Nancy and they live in Minneapolis, MN with their two daughters. He says he is a curmudgeon, but his friends and family know otherwise. Mostly.
Cross & Gavel is a project of the Institute for Christian Legal Studies, a cooperative ministry of Regent University School of Law and the Christian Legal Society. Host Mike Schutt is Associate Professor of Law at Regent and directs Attorney Ministries and Law Student Ministries for CLS.
Charlie Clauss says that it's okay to cry out against our current secularized, commercial, extended version of Christmas. He says that people are hungry for something more substantial than the "war" over Christmas or the 60-day shopping spree, hungry for something that will feed our souls as we mark time in the world.
And that's where the season of Advent can help.
In this episode, Charlie and Mike discuss why Advent is the perfect antidote to the commercialization and secularization of Christmas, and why it is also much much more than that. Advent is not an extended Christmas, or "Christmas Lite." It's a season that reminds Christ followers to reflect on their lives in light of the coming of Christ-- His coming in glory to set all things right. Jesus is coming, and He's coming whether we're ready or not-- and that is reason for hope as well as for self-examination.
The discussion ranges from the history of the season, to ideas on how to observe it well, to thoughts on how to not to be an Advent snob, and to some themes and passages that we can turn to at this time of year.
Listen in on the discussion and find out why observing Advent is like finding a cave in a storm, why you might find chocolate in your shoes on December 6, and whether Charlie will be sending Mike ten Lords a-leaping or seven swans a-swimming during the twelve-day feast of Christmas.
Mike Schutt directs Law Student Ministries & Attorney Ministries for the Christian Legal Society and is the founder and host of the Cross & Gavel Audio podcast.
Charlie Clauss is the founder of the Keeping Advent Facebook Page, a math teacher, a Minnesota resident, a gentleman, and a scholar, among many other things. Join the discussion at "Keeping Advent" on Facebook here.