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Farch & Forgiveness

Farch. This is what a teacher friend of mine named February and March—Farch. It’s the time of year here in the upper Midwest when clean snow gives way to mud, the robin’s-egg blue sky turns gray, and even if it looks like it could—should—be warm, one’s fingers still need to be covered with clumsy mittens. Farch is the perfect word for this time of year, because the word itself sounds like the misery it intends to invoke. Farch is old ground…stale energy…a candle about to die. And with Farch comes Lent.

As a kid, Lent was always really depressing to me. Lent meant somber hymns, dark decorations on the altar, and the super-depressing Good Friday worship—the one in which we stripped the altar of its cloths and read about Jesus’s darkest hour. I was always struck by Jesus' response: "Jesus said, 'Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.' And they divided up his clothes by casting lots." Luke 23:34

In the words of my eight-year-old self, What a downer! How could I ever measure up to Jesus and his forgiveness? I could hardly forgive my big sister for her “torture,” which consisted mainly of refusing to play dolls with me and making me help her with her chores at the farm next door.