into the desert . . .

“Your journey begins on February 15, 2010.”

Wow. Sounds like Star Trek. Or a ride at Disney World. I’m intrigued. On this (Follow) Friday, I’d like to offer you a blog that I just discovered today. That’s a bit risky. I haven’t vetted it. I have no idea if it will be useful, enjoyable, entertaining … all those things we look for in a blog. But the premise intrigues me and the topic is time-sensitive, so I’m going out on a limb.

The Ladder is the blog of GOYA, the Greek Orthodox Youth of America. Here’s their latest blog marketing:

“take the 40 day lenten challenge: Your journey begins on February 15, 2010.”

Ok, you got me reading.

I’m not entirely sure when I first heard the word Lent. I grew up in a Protestant church, but we didn’t really do much with Lent. In college, I began attending an Episcopal church and discovered the tradition of this penitent season of preparation. For Anglican and Roman Catholic Christian traditions, Lent is the 40 days preceding Easter, that is, the 40 days (Sundays aren’t counted) between Ash Wednesday and Easter. My favorite, not-always-reliable, on-line, encyclopedic resource, Wikipedia, tells me this about Lent:

Christ Pantocrator, detail of the Deesis mosaic

The traditional purpose of Lent is the preparation of the believer — through prayer, penitence, almsgiving, self-denial — for the annual commemoration during Holy Week of the Death and Resurrection of Jesus, which recalls the events linked to the Passion of Christ and culminates in Easter, the celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

In the Anglican and Roman Catholic traditions, Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, which is next week. The day before, of course, is Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday) or Shrove Tuesday. In the Eastern Orthodox tradition, Lent begins on Clean Monday or Pure Monday, which is this coming Monday.

So, the Greek Orthodox Youth of America are beginning a lenten blog journey on Monday. If I follow it, their journey will be two days off from my church’s experience of Lent. But I have a feeling that there will still be something I can glean from their journey … into the desert.

Maybe you’d like to join us too.

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