Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Ash Wednesday

Today is when I finally realized how depraved our society has become. It hit me when I read the following headline:

9 Money Moves for Lent, one paragragh of which assured us, "Even die-hard atheists use Ash Wednesday (today) to take the initiative and give up an indulgence as an experiment in doing without. Think of it as New Year’s Resolutions (Lite). Instead of giving up Starbucks for a year, you can give up Starbucks for 40 days and know that if you turn into a helpless narcoleptic you can always go back to your lattes in April."

Contrast that with this story: Some years ago we were working with a Real Estate Agent and our grandson, Nicholas, was at our house for some reason. The agent gaily told him of a new website of children's games that her kids had found and offered to show him where to find it on the computer.

"No thanks, " this third grader who was (and still is) crazy about computer games answered politely. "I gave up computer games for Lent." (And he did.)

I remember as a child going to Lenten services during the noon hour. Services were held at noon because the local factory would give its workers an extra half hour off at lunchtime during Lent so that the employees could attend services if they liked. Most stores closed over the noon hour for the same reason. The two big churches in town were the Lutheran church and the Catholic church, and as I remember, those services were always full.

We schoolchildren would walk across the street that separated our parochial school from the church, and  would file into the front pews. I remember the hymns sounding quite beautiful and eerily sad (it was Lent you will remember) with the adult voices from the back providing a solid base beneath the soaring soprano of the children. (Did this in some way contribute to the idea of the Klemp Family Singers? Perhaps.)

There is no reason that we, as Christians, cannot continue to honor and hold dear this time of reflection on the death  of our Lord, and the great sacrifice that brought us life and salvation. In fact we are getting ready to go to Lenten services as I write. But don't expect any cooperation or understanding from your formerly Christian nation.

That's sad.


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