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The word “Lent” comes from an old English word for “lengthen,” and refers to the lengthening of those long-anticipated days of spring. With both the cross and the empty tomb approaching, the church prepares itself with forty days of fasting and reflection, all for the sake of more fully celebrating Easter’s song of spring when it comes.

And so if Lent is about lengthening light, it’s also about broadening our hearts and preparing the way, making room for careful attention to what matters most. As the poet Mary Oliver puts it, living well involves attention, astonishment, and testimony – and poetry itself can be a great help along the way. The best poems can help us notice the world, attuning our eyes and ears to wonders we might otherwise overlook, and inspiring us to share what we find.

This year's Lenten theme is "Lent in Verse." Using the devotional found in your Lenten Care Box or downloadable below, the verse of scripture and the verse of poet Mary Oliver as our guides, we enter into this most sacred of seasons. Each week, biblical verse and Oliver’s poems illumine each other, pointing toward simple, powerful practices you can try yourself, with your family or friends, or with our congregation.

So grab your favorite Bible and a copy of Devotions: The Selected Poems of Mary Oliver - also in your Lenten Care Box - or searchable online. Week by week, we’ll travel this Lenten journey together toward Easter morning – and thereby do our part, in a world so full of shadows, to help lengthen the light and welcome the joy of God’s spring.


Adapted from: The Poetry of Lent, SALT,