Pastor RanBran: Our Lent Trivia Man

Is the season of Lent that starts in February required in order to have Easter?
No, that’s silly, because every Sunday is like a mini-Easter, acclaiming Christ’s resurrection. Lent is a helpful tradition however, to prepare and celebrate Easter more fully.

Is Lent cancelled this year because of the pandemic?
No, it is not. Lent has endured dozens of terrible pandemics in the past, including many recurrences of the Black Plague between the years 1347-1665. This year Ash Wednesday and Lent will look different, but watch for all the ways and opportunities for still fully observing this season.

On Ash Wednesday, because of COVID-19, will a cross be put on our foreheads with a felt-tip marker?
No, we will not be using markers, but, yes, there will be an opportunity to get marked with a cross. Look for detailed information at for how to pick up an Ash Wednesday kit that will have actual ashes in it for you.

Why use those dirty ashes to make a cross? I like it so much better when we use baptism water to sign the cross on our foreheads!
Ashes are an ancient sign of sorrow, repentance, and death. It is a powerful symbol of our mortality, that we admit our sins honestly, and that we remember the Good News: God loves and forgives fully and completely.

Is the main point of Lent that we each give up something we like for 40 days?
Oh, goodness, no. Lent is a 40 day journey of intentionally turning once again toward God (repentance). The tradition of giving up something came out of the practice of fasting in order to dedicate oneself to prayer, worship, and reflection.

So, Pastor Trivia Man, what are YOU planning to do during Lent this year? Are you giving something up?
Well, there are a few things that would be good for me to give up, but this year I am going to add something to my life that will help turn my heart and mind to experience God’s presence and peace more deeply. I am going to join Pastor John Keller’s class on “Centering Prayer” which will be held every Monday morning and evening during Lent.

I see that this year’s Lent theme is “Community.” Is that related to the TV comedy series?
The reruns on cable you ask about center on community college life, but our Lent series offers a mid-week opportunity to reflect on five types of community that God provides for life giving connections (which is especially critical during this pandemic when many feel disconnected).

God invites us to be in community with creation, in community with all the saints, in community with our neighbor, in community with those on the margins, and in community with Christ.

Does the word “lent” come from the same origin as the word “lint?”
Ha! No, the word “Lent” comes from the Old English word “Lencten,” which literally means “spring.” That’s because Lent always occurs during the spring months.

If purple is the color for Lent, should I wear my Vikings gear for 40 days?
Good grief, wear MN Vikings clothing at your own risk, but you are right. Purple (or violet) is used for Lent because it is associated with mourning and anticipates the pain and suffering of the crucifixion. Purple is also the color of royalty, and celebrates Christ’s resurrection as our eternal king.

Pastor RanBran Trivia Man, any final words of wisdom?
Yes, the weeks before Holy Week and Easter have a long and deep history in the Christian church as a unique opportunity to worship, learn, and grow in faith with one another. We pray this is your experience with the SOTV staff and congregation. Let’s journey together, worship, encourage one another, and find ourselves renewed in the bountiful community God provides. The abundant blessing of the Holy Spirit’s work be upon us all!