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Speaking to the Soul: What will be the shape of your Lent?

Speaking to the Soul: What will be the shape of your Lent?

by Kimberly Knowle-Zeller


Today is the day before Lent begins.

Some call it Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday.

For some it’s just another day.

For others they’re still trying to figure out what to give up or take on during Lent.

For some clergy they are finalizing services and gathering ashes and writing sermons.

For some they are dreading the coming weeks somberness and darkness.


This is my second year on leave from call experiencing Lent without a congregation to lead. I get to worship in a congregation where I’m not in charge and not the one leading the liturgy. I get to worship with my toddler daughter. I also have the time to think more intentionally about what Lent will look like for me this year.


I’ve been a pro at coming up with things to do or not do during Lent over the years. There’s almost a sense of joy and giddiness with figuring out how to approach the season. Some years I’ve given up the traditional items of chocolate or desserts or TV. One year I took on the task of writing a letter a day. Some years my family and I are better at reading devotions together over a meal or before bed. One year my Lenten discipline was to walk in silence rather than always having music in my ears.


Now it’s the day before Ash Wednesday and I’m still wrestling with the shape my Lent will take. The things I think about doing for spiritual growth are some things that I’ve already started doing pre-Lent. I make phone calls every day to my congressmen and women and representatives. I write daily. I say prayers with my daughter and family. In each of these things I am deepening my relationship with my neighbor and God, and digging deeper into what I believe. Which is at the heart of the Lenten pilgrimage.


But what will make this Lent different? What will stand out? What will help me to go deeper?

Perhaps I’m asking the wrong questions? Perhaps I need to stop thinking about what I could and should do, or what I should give up, but rather what God is already doing in my life.


Maybe I need to not do and simply just be?


Perhaps all my attempts at writing and using words to persuade and work for justice need to once again be reoriented to the Word. The Word who was in the beginning and will be. The Word made flesh. The Word who came to be among God’s people. The Word who knew suffering and pain. The Word who died so that we may have life.


This Lent I hope to remember that Word. The Word spoken to me and the Word who called and loves me.


May you find rest and solace in that Word, too.



Kimberly Knowle-Zeller is an ordained ELCA pastor, mother of a toddler, and spouse of an ELCA pastor. She lives with her family in Cole Camp, MO. Her website is
By AbrahammyOwn work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link


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Dana Lehmer

NOT only at Lent. Praying more and studying the bible more is the way i know God wants me to focus on him, in a deeper relationship with him in my life.

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