Not too late to join

This past week I had the sinking feeling that I had “done” lent poorly this year. Which begged the question, is lent something to do? The most direct answer is, no, it’s not.

However, it is a season that can help position a soul, a family, even a group in such a way that you are not doing lent but entering a deeper relationship with He who is timeless. So when I say that I did lent poorly, what I really mean is that I am saddened to have missed an opportunity to reflect, to grow, and to walk with fellow sojourners more intentionally.

I am part of a community that humors me as I wrestle out loud and in ways that might appear ridiculous. A subgroup gathers faithfully Friday nights to join a less eternal, but still redemptive story, watching The Biggest Loser. This past week was a shorter episode, only 40 minutes with the commercials cut out. I received this extra time as a gift to start the weekend more appropriately postured than I had been during the preparatory season. I sent out a last minute email entitled Biggest Loser and Good Friday – all were welcome to join in a short Good Friday service after we had debriefed Makeover Week.

TV then a religious gathering. An odd juxtaposition, I know. A bit ridiculous? Perhaps. Needed for my soul? Absolutely. Touching this world and the next.

Twelve of us gathered for a Tenebrae service.  Taking turns reading though Matthew, we started at the end of the last supper and read through Jesus’ death. Candles extinguished as the story progresses – Peter’s denial predicted. Candle snuffed. Praying in the garden. Candle snuffed. One by one they were put out until Christ dies. The final candle snuffed and we sat in the tomb-like dark room. People left as they were lead.

Reading with my brothers and sisters, we walked the path together. Denying we know him, sleeping in the garden, betraying with a kiss, we joined in the story. I cannot speak for them, but hearing their voices, voices I know in the light, read the words I needed to hear in the growing darkness postured this soul for Saturday mourning and Sunday rejoicing.

Though Christ cried it is finished, it’s never too late to join in. Even if it is day 38 of a 40 day season, that’s a key part of the gospel: it’s never too late!

(A deep felt thanks to my friends and China family for entering the shadows with me. I love you.)


  1. That sounds like a beautiful service.

  2. Katherine says:

    What a wonderful experience. I have never heard of a Tenebrae service before. I definitely sounds like something I would like to incorporate into Holy Week next year! Thank you for letting us join in with you via the blog.

  3. visiting from hear it on a sunday

    love your post…..thank you for sharing. it is amazing that it is never too late.

  4. I’ve never heard of that. I’ve done a Seder meal that we tied into the Last Supper, but not a Tenebrae.
    And I totally get what you’re saying about biggest loser or other shows. Sometimes, the most mundane things can inspire us to be in community and to share our lives together. That’s something to thank God for.

  5. What a beautiful activity! You must have an intimate experience with Christ because of that! And I agree — it’s never too late! :-)

    Visiting from Hear It On Sunday, Use It On Monday! Belated Happy Easter to you, Amy! God bless! :-)

  6. Kind of unrelated, but have you read Chittister’s book, The Liturgical Year? She does a wonderful job discussing Lent. Definitely worth the read.

  7. Amy, thanks so much for dropping by my blog! I really appreciate it. FYI- I’ve got an awesome faith blog planned for tomorrow so drop by for a read if you can!

  8. I love this post! I think so often there’s all this pressure to “do” something big for Lent. It kind of misses the point of genuine introspection, yeah?
    I love your point that it is “never too late” to join. And I love the authentic realness of your small worship service. I’m always excited and intrigued by folks who are creating their own litrugy!
    Thanks for your honesty that we don’t have to retreat from the world altogether in order to be present to holiness. I’ve never seen the Biggest Loser, but maybe it’s time to check it out

  9. “Candles extinguished as the story progresses…” This caught my breath. This must have been a profound experience. I want to remember this.

    • It is profound — I’d recommend it for any group, family or look in your local newspaper and see if there are churches holding a Tenebrae service.

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