I have a confession to make.
I didn't give up anything for Lent. I ate a chocolate bar last week. I had fried chicken for dinner last night. I'm not even reading the books that I set aside to read during these 40 days of Lent, a time that has traditionally been set aside for introspection and penitence.
Instead, I'm reading novels. NOVELS!
I haven't read a novel since...well, before Christmas. When I walk by Mary, our Administrative Assistant's, desk I will often take a caramel, or Tootsie Roll or (gasp) a Hershey's Kiss! I'm even planning on taking some vacation time - in the middle of Lent - what am I thinking?!? Oooo, here's something else - I still use real butter, eat processed foods, and meat on Fridays. And I stayed in bed till after 9 this morning. (ok, if I'm really confessing it was after 10 till I got up and moving).
And I'm ok with it.
Its not that I don't believe in fasting, I do. Its not that I am being cavalier about the season of Lent, I'm fully aware of the many ways that people of faith have used the season of Lent to focus on Christ's life, death and resurrection.
Its just that, well, I'm tired. And after walking alongside 6 different families who have faced the death and funerals of loved ones since Christmas - I am tired of dwelling in darkness. I have been in the tomb a number of times here lately and I want to live in the light and hope of the resurrection for a while.
We ARE resurrection people. This is why Sundays aren't included in Lenten countdown - they are 'mini-Easters' and are to be celebrated as each Sunday is, as we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. And the reality is that Lent is not meant to be a time to be miserable and sad in preparation for Good Friday.
My denomination has a resource for Lenten observation that says: "Every week, [in Lent] we draw nearer to our need for Christ and the realization that the Spirit gives us what we need to live our baptismal vows to renounce the evil powers of this world, walk away from our sinful ways, resist evil, injustice and oppression in every way they present themselves, and entrust our whole lives to the grace and Lordship of Jesus." (gbod.org/worship Planning Lent and Easter) Want to learn more? Click here
I honestly couldn't continue doing what I do without the guidance and power of the Holy Spirit! I also know that one of the most important things that I can do for myself and the folks I walk alongside is, well, I need to take care of myself.
This whole Lent thing isn't as much about what we give up as it is about journeying together under the love, mercy and grace of our Triune God. This I will do with great hope and expectation as we tell the stories of how God lives and moves within our lives.
Whether you personally have given something up for Lent or taken something new on - it is my prayer that during Lent you are drawn closer to God's love and the community you are a part of...oh and for some fun watch the movie "Chocolat". It's a real treat with a powerful message about the season of Lent!
peace, love in Christ,