Anglicans Online banner More about the gryphon
Independent On the web since 1994 More than 250,000 readers More than 32,000 links Updated every Sunday
Will you help support
Anglicans Online?

The Paypal logotype

Noted This Week
Sites new to AO

News Centre
News archive

News flash: a summary of the top headlines
Find us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Follow us by email
Be notified each week

Start here
Anglicans believe...
The Prayer Book
The Bible

Read letters to AO
Write to us

Resources A to Z

World Anglicanism
Anglican Communion
In full communion
Not in the Communion

Dioceses and Parishes
Hong Kong
New Zealand

South Africa
Sri Lanka

Vacancies Centre
List a vacancy
Check openings worldwide

Add a site or link to AO
Add a site to AO
Link to AO

About Anglicans Online
Back issues
About our logo
Our search engine


Hallo again to all.

We are halfway through Lent, more or less. If one takes Lent at all seriously (and we suspect that most people don't, even when they intend to), the duration of Lent seems like an eternity.

Whether Lent is 40 days or 46 days or 6 weeks or some other number, it is still long. Too long to deal with it in a single attention span. Too long to recognize it as an event. But, oddly, it is not long enough to be a permanent change. Every year Lent starts, every year we do Lent however it is that we do Lent, and then every year it is over in a blaze of glory and trumpets and hope and faith. We rejoice, we celebrate, we marvel at the Resurrection, and then, almost before we know it, it is again Ordinary Time and Lent returns to being just a word.

In modern life it is the norm to set aside much shorter intervals to honour and remember. We've all been asked to observe one minute of silence in remembrance of something, often referred to as a 'moment of silence' rather than a 'minute of silence'. There was for many decades a daily three minute silence in Cape Town, each minute of which was in remembrance of specific groups of war victims. Most Commonwealth countries observe two minutes of silence at 11:00 on Remembrance Day.

Silence can be powerful, but for most people that power cannot be expected to last 40 days. If observing Lent meant that one had to be silent for 40 days, even fewer people would do it, and the numbers are small enough already. Even in the heyday of monasteries, perhaps a thousand years ago, not very many people actually became monks and kept up the discipline.

Lent really needs to be something that you do, not something that you don't do. The stated purpose of Lent is to change us. To get us ready for Easter, ready to experience the Resurrection. It's not a moment of anything, and its duration is not the actual goal.

Some years ago, in a conversation with an aging, blog-writing, trumpet-playing, airplane-flying, randy retired priest, he told us that he thought of Lenten discipline as a sort of spiritual exercise. In the matter of physical exercise, you can buy exercise equipment, maybe even use it from time to time, but not have a plan or sufficient discipline, and after a while you let your fitness club membership lapse or you turn your home exercise equipment into a clothes rack. Having a trainer helps a lot; with 40 days of planned exercise supervised and encouraged by a physical trainer, you can make significant changes to your health and being. With spiritual exercise, your goal is not the exercise itself but the changes that it brings about in you. With 40 days of Lent, perhaps even supervised or encouraged by a 'spiritual trainer', you can make significant changes to your health and being, and get in good shape to experience the Resurrection.

See you next week.

Our Signatures

All of us at Anglicans Online

28 February 2016

A thin blue line
This web site is independent. It is not official in any way. Our editorial staff is private and unaffiliated. Please contact about information on this page. ©2015 Society of Archbishop Justus
. Please address all spam to