The Year Lent Never Ended

or, concerning Church Cake

The first Sunday we returned to church during the pandemic, our 2-year-old Declan asked why there wasn’t any Church Cake.

Even with tentative, distanced gatherings—nothing feels quite like it did a year ago. 

When the world shut down in March 2020, we were in the midst of Lent—our annual season of sacrifice and reflection; when alleluias pause and we remember the fragility of our humanity. 

In some ways, this Lenten season is a continuation of the last. 

All year we have sacrificed, both for our own safety and for the health of others. 

All year we have reflected, realizing each action we take has consequences both intended and unintended. 

All year we’ve been hesitant with our alleluias, wondering when we will be able to all rejoice together. 

We’ve seen loved ones pass and babies birthed. Life went on the year Lent never ended. 

But now Lent feels a little more hopeful. We see a light at the end of this dark, tired tunnel. There must be death for resurrection to come. 

As we walk through another season of fasting, we do so with the expectation of feasts greater than we could ever imagine. And maybe someday soon we can all share a slice of Church Cake.