March 10, 2017

Resetting Our Spiritual Time Clocks by Sharon Espeseth

Don't forget to reset your clocks tonight!
A Mini-History of Lent

On March 1, we observed Ash Wednesday, an important day on the Christian liturgical calendar, which officially begins the season of Lent. In brief, Lent is a time to repent of our sins, renew our faith, and prepare for Easter when we see Jesus risen from the grave.

Researching the etymology of the word Lent, we find that Lent in many languages implies "forty" which signifies the number of days Jesus spent in the wilderness with God the Father. When the six days of Easter week are added to the forty, the season of Lent becomes 46 days.

Historian and priest, Norman Tanner SJ, in his article "A Short History of Lent," points out that the English word Lent comes from the Anglo-Saxon word meaning "lengthen." Norman Tanner explains that Lent is ". . . a time when we can stretch out and grow in the Spirit."

To read more of Norman Tanner's explanation about the joy of Lent, see

At this site, we read Tanner's explanation of how God's grace can work in us, if we but cooperate with God in the process of growing our faith. God cannot grow our faith without us.

Lent is here. What does that mean to each of us? 

In Isaiah: 58:1-9a, God tells us that he doesn't want us to wear sack cloth and sit in ashes.That's not the kind of fasting he wants to see. Rather he would have us be active in making ours a better world by loosing the chains of injustice, untying the cords that bind people, setting the oppressed free,  by helping to provide food and shelter for the needy. . .

This we can do by loving God and loving our neighbour as ourselves, by doing charitable deeds, and by spending time in God's presence. Saint Teresa of Calcutta has said, "We need to find God, and God cannot be found in noise and restlessness. The more we receive in silent prayer, the more we can give in our active life."

Finding Our Own Wilderness

Without going to the wilderness for forty days as Christ did, we can retreat to the quiet of our bedrooms to pray. We can turn off the television and other technical devices to read God's Word and spend time in prayer. We can put on sacred music or listen to tapes of Scripture or faith messages while we drive, go for a walk, or do household chores.

Resetting Our Spiritual Clocks

"Lent comes providentially," Pope Francis says, "to reawaken us from our lethargy."

For those of us living in a province where the time changes in spring or fall, this is the weekend for resetting our clocks. We can be creative and individual in how we reset our spiritual clocks.

Lent may be the best of times to "breathe new life," as Sandi Somers says in her blog, into one or more of our unfinished writing projects. Our writing, if surrendered to God, may bring a life-changing message to one, or more, of our readers. Whatever our genre--essay, fiction, memoir, blog or poetry--someone in this world may be waiting for what God leads us to write.


Remember the movie, "O God" with actor John Denver. Although this movie was "theology lite," the writer of the story made a good theological point. A fictitious God, acted by George Burns, gave a  non-religious, young, assistant manager of a supermarket the message that the world can work with what he, God, has already given us.

St. Augustine is credited with saying, "God has promised forgiveness to your repentance, but he has
not promised tomorrow to your procrastination."

Whatever your message, remember the Chinese pro
verb that says, "The best time to plant a tree (or write a book) was twenty years ago. The second best time is now."

* Clock photo from Pixabay.


  1. I especially liked the idea that we should be 'resetting' our spiritual clocks this weekend to coincide with the time change. (Although in my area of BC - the peace Region - we don't change!)

  2. I know some of you don't have the normal time change going on. Since you don't need to fiddle with changing all your digital and analogue clocks, you can concentrate on your spiritual clock. which may be running smoothly as it is, Tracy. :-)

  3. A great day to post, Sharon! What a beautiful integration of resetting our clock with resetting our spiritual lives during Lent. You've given me some impetus for my April blog on the Lenten/Easter theme.

    I must also thank you for writing about Ash Wednesday last year, as it motivated me to attend a service--which I did this year. It so happened that the Protestant church my nephew and his wife attend held their first Ash Wednesday service. A Lutheran Pastor give the introduction and background to Ash Wednesday, as well as give the message of Lent. Very meaningful!

    1. Thank you, Sandi, for your comments. I appreciate the Lenten observances so much, beginning with Ash Wednesday. I seem to be stretching my understanding of what Lent can bring to my faith.

      Reading some of the Psalms, the 51st, for example, add to my understanding of what is an acceptable fast. (See also, if you wish, Isaiah 58:1-9a.)

  4. Loved the picture of the clock, too! Nice addition!

  5. Appreciated several of the quotes, in particular, "...God's grace can work in us, if we but COOPERATE with God in the process of growing our faith." CAPITALS MINE.

    1. Yes, God can't grow our faith without our cooperation. Thanks for the caps, Still Waters and Dancing Wings.

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

  7. I like your connection btn the spiritual times of life and the times we have at hand - if not then - then now! With a milestone birthday around the corner, I have to say - Thank You God.

  8. In SK we don't have to reset our clocks. But thank you, Sharon, for reminding us that once in a while we need to reset our spiritual clocks and that Lent is a great time to renew our faith and revive our unfinished writing projects.

  9. Resetting our actual clocks comes up for discussion again and again. Who knows, eh! But we can reset our spiritual clocks and "revive our unfinished writing projects." Thanks for stopping by, Nina.

  10. Sharon, I do like the picture of Lent as being a time to "reset" and listen to God. This is so important to do in our spiritual lives, and also in our writing. This made me notice that there are many times throughout the year when I reset - New Year's (winter), Lent/Easter (spring), vacations (summer), school start (fall). I guess this is telling me that I won't reach my 5-year goal if I don't pay attention to my this year goal!

  11. Thanks for your comment, Marnie. We do need those seasonal times to get our attention back to God and the work we believe we are called to do. We each have been given gifts by the Holy Spirit and we need to consider how we are using them. Lent is a good time for resetting our spiritual and our life priorities. May Lent be special for each of us this year.


Thank you for taking the time to join in the conversation. Our writers appreciate receiving your feedback on posts you have found helpful or meaningful in some way.