One by one, we were placed under arrest and taken to jail. An 11-hour incarceration followed. I was chained to a bench while also handcuffed to another prisoner. The hours grew longer and longer. I meditated. I prayed. I asked for help because I felt helpless.
The waste and agony of dying are all around us. Death has come to mean an impersonal body count. Horror stories fill TV screens and usurp press headlines. How can we simply go on as if this kind of tragedy were absent?
Its trunk seems sturdier than some belief systems. Its branches are hospitable and inviting. I'm aware of my age and accompanying collection of aches and pains. These are also litanies of anxiety that seem to have marked my being.
So the celebration of Easter is not about giving up Lent -- just like Lent wasn't about giving up Easter. It is all part of the same holy rhythm of discerning enough and learning what life together really means.
Lent is like an excursion into the wilderness during which I leave my familiar dependencies to embrace silence, solitude, and deprivation beyond the daily attractions and distractions that shape my life.
Every year, the church reminds us to observe an intentional season of introspection during the season of Lent. Ash Wednesday follows Fat Tuesday and launches this season, urging Christians to engage self-regulation.