I made the comment in a sermon recently that Lent is like the dress debate. Y’all remember the dress debate from a few weeks ago? Is it Black and Blue or White and Gold? Different people seem to see that dress differently. The same is true about the Lenten season. Traditionally, folks maintain a very somber focus during the Lenten season. They may focus on Christ’s suffering and Passion by denying self and giving something up for Lent. The very idea of ashes on Ash Wednesday denotes a season of mourning. You might say this is seeing the season in Black and Blue. I did not grow up in a religious tradition that focused much on Lent. I did not even know what Ash Wednesday was all about until I was in college.
For me, the preparation time preceding Easter is one of anticipation and excitement rather than mourning. Call me crazy, but I get much more excited as Easter approaches than I do as Christmas comes near! In the Lenten season my mind and heart is focused less on the cross and more on the empty tomb. My mood is not somber but rather celebratory. So you might say that I see the Lenten season in White and Gold.
Like the dress debate, neither view is wrong but merely a different way of seeing the same event. The important thing is not what colors we see when we think about this season but the fact that we do indeed stop long enough in our crazy lives to actually see. Whether through meditation we find ourselves at the foot of the cross on Calvary’s hill or before an empty tomb in a garden, the goal is to make that Lenten journey.