March Madness is upon us! The state basketball tournaments are in full swing, the Big 10 (or is it the Big 14?) tournament will be played, followed by the Big Dance - the NCAA Championship! It is always fun to see the smaller schools, lower seeds, and underdogs advance through an exciting upset of a higher seed. Certainly the Badgers will be in the “Dance” once again, though I do not think my Hoosiers will be joining them this time around. Many of us will enter some form of a NCAA “pool”, filling out our brackets, hoping that our picks will bring us “glory” or at least the prize of a few bucks or a pizza!
March Madness also can describe the crazy weather swings as Mother Nature transitions from winter to spring. One day it can be a balmy 70 degrees, the next day a snowstorm! March 21 marks the beginning of Spring! Yeah!
And then there is the time change! On March 12, we “Spring Ahead” with our clocks! While I am not always a fan of that particular morning, losing an hour of sleep, I do appreciate having the longer evening light!
Most of us know these particular things that occur every March, bringing them up in conversation at home, work, and in social settings. However, there is another event that happens each March, one that impacts our lives, or should impact them, but we might not think so much about and that is the Liturgical Season of Lent.
Each March sees us, as Christians, following Jesus along the Way that leads us into the events of Holy Week in Jerusalem. Some years Easter Sunday is late March, other years it is in April. There reason for this variation of Easter Sunday goes way back to 325CE when “the Council of Nicaea established that Easter would be held on the first Sunday after the first full moon occurring on or after the vernal equinox. From that point forward, the Easter date depended on the ecclesiastical approximation of March 21 for the vernal equinox.” (www.timeanddate.com/calendar/determining-easter)
This year, Easter is on Sunday, April 16. I know, it is maddening, right! The one thing that is not maddening about March is the consistent presence of Lent. So here we are and here is March which means each Sunday our theme will be around the liturgical season of Lent. We will not have bracket to fill out, there will be no champion crowned, there probably will be a snowstorm followed by a 70 degree day, and the days will be longer, and each Sunday we will tell the old, old story of Jesus and God’s love.