The Rev. Casey dunsworth

serves as Associate Campus Pastor to the Belfry, the Lutheran-Episcopal Campus Ministry to UC Davis

and as Program Director for LEVN, the Lutheran Episcopal Volunteer Network.

O Lord, throughout these forty days...

Working for the church makes the liturgical year weird and awesome. On internship, I sat in worship planning meetings for Advent in October, and for Lent in January, and got really messed up on what was happening when. But once we really were in each season, we were really in each season. It was excellent. This year, I got a new ministry job in the midst of Epiphany and so Lent is suddenly here and I'm diving right in!

I happen to love Lent. I love Lent because I am a speedy person. I am oriented toward the future at all times, which maybe we could argue is eschatologically appropriate or something, but that sounds really boring. Lent is, to some degree, oriented toward the future (death, Easter) but what's really crucial about it is that, during the 40 days, we're just supposed to sit. Sit in the knowledge of our own mortality, sit in the knowledge of our own sin, sit in the knowledge of our own suffering, sit in the knowledge of the suffering we inflict, sit in the absolute muck of humanity. That's why not everyone loves Lent. That doesn't sound, umm, fun. But what it does sound like is an opportunity to stop thinking about what I can add to my to-do list, and instead think about what has happened and what is happening precisely now.

Much of the spirituality of Lent is quiet (to the point of silent), reflective, and deep. It's a time to read scripture, read poetry, pray, sing, serve--like we always do!--but with a markedly different ambiance.

Next Wednesday is Ash Wednesday, on which I will say "remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return" before marking foreheads with a mix of oil and ashes. Remember that you are connected to the entire history of humanity, the entire history of life. Remember that you are God's. Remember that you are. That's not a simple task, and it needn't be. We have 40 days to linger in the knowledge and the promises of God.

How do you intend to keep a holy Lent?

I read this piece about the white church committing to black history for Lent. I'm convicted, and I'm giving it a try.

This year, I signed up for Jan Richardson's online lent retreat for the first time, and am really looking forward to it. It costs money, so it will not pair well with your Lenten budget, should you be going that route, haha.

For the past few years, I've been writing daily thank you notes as a Lenten practice and I'm not about to stop--it's an incredibly rewarding experience, even if no one writes back; half the fun is making the list of people to send notes to, and realizing I have far more than 40 dear friends.

I've been considering this minimalism challenge for a while, and though it's only 30 days long, it might be worth exploring for Lent. You could probably come up with 10 more ideas once you got rolling.

Here are some more ideas:

Lent Madness Saint Bracket
Luther Seminary's Lenten Devotion
Random Acts of Kindness
Progressive Christianity's Lent Course for 2015
Lent Journaling Prompts

I am tired, I am weak, I am worn.