Lent is the time when Christians traditionally give up sweets or alcohol in recognition of the 40 days Jesus spent praying and fasting in the desert to prepare for his life work. This past Lent in England, they were asked instead to think about their carbon footprints.

The Anglican bishop of Liverpool, England, James Jones, and the bishop of London, Richard Chartres, last year suggested... read more

By Jim Johnston

The season calls us to move forward, go deeper as disciples

‘I have a journey, sir,

shortly to go;

My master calls me,... read more

Lent brings us to evaluate our life’s challenges

I lay in a sleeping bag on the floor of a church basement in northern Minnesota, wide awake because I could not stop thinking: “What have I done?” At dawn, I would board a camp boat that would take me to the island where I would spend my college summer as a canoe trip guide. I had done very little camping, and I... read more

From temptation to transfiguration during Lent

Which way is transfiguration? Must I go through temptation to get there? How do I get from wilderness to garden, from cross to crown?

First of all, because the terrain is trackless and windswept, there is no conventional map. There are only signposts. We have to walk some of these lonesome... read more

Conversion comes in its own time and on its own terms

There’s this thing about Lent: It’s not just a neat six weeks in the spring of the year that gets you all holy and housecleaned in time for Easter. Lent can also creep up behind you and take you by surprise at any point on the calendar of your life. Bam! And life will never be the same again.

... read more

Jesus’ approach to suffering goes beyond platitudes

Coming from a family of eight children, my attempts at jockeying for position in the constellation of siblings basically took the form of whining and complaining. These “petitions” seemed to fall on the deaf ears of my stoic mother, as her usual reply was “Offer it up!” I insisted that it was too cold to walk to... read more

A faded photograph testifies to an undying faith

An ancient tradition says that the tree on which Jesus hung was set in the same ground where Adam lay buried. In a place of thorns and thistles planted by Adam’s sin, Jesus forgives the thief his sins, and, so, all of the thieves — that is, all of us. It is an image of the truth we proclaim, that God brings the... read more

Adults have much to learn from children about how to do Lent

By Doris Murphy

Recently, while interviewing children for their first Reconciliation, I asked Tommy what “penance” was. He answered without hesitation: “It’s sort of like a time-out.”

A young mother told me that when her little daughter was throwing... read more

A few weeks ago, I found myself in front of nearly 150 students in grades five through eight at a local school where one of my congregation's associates-in-mission is principal. I had been invited to... read more

Doing the work of ritual, language, song and dance by heart

The sine qua non of a community’s rituals — little ones and enormous ones — are the way they belong to all present. That is what ritual must be, whether it is this entire time between Ash Wednesday to Pentecost in the assembly’s life in church and out, or simply the chanting and movement of each Sunday’s... read more