Today’s blog post is about the letting-go & the taking-on Christians do during Lent. I’d like you to try something, even if you don’t read my post. Check out this cool way I find helpful to pray during Lent, with an online inter-active labyrinth by clicking here.
WHY WOULD ANYONE LIKE LENT?
I didn’t grow up in a family that made much fuss over the season of Lent. It wasn’t until I dated a Catholic girl in high school that I heard how Christians often let some habit go (meat, candy, complaining), or take some habit on (generosity, helping, worship), during the 40 days of Lent, leading up to Easter.
I’ve grown to see that I (we) need what Lent does for us. It’s like a re-set, a house-cleaning, a call to mindfulness so that old habits can be questioned or set aside momentarily, & new conversations with God can be entered into. Lent starts with Ash Wednesday as both Catholics and Protestants gather to smear an ash mark in their foreheads, and remind each other we each will die someday. Sounds weird, huh? It’s tempting to avoid this service with its reminder that we’re all perishable. But I find it freeing to hear true words that require I step back & remember what I’d forgotten – We are mortal. We come from stardust. We’ll return to the earth someday. But God’s love will never end. And this beautiful journey between dust & dust is what we call our lives. Wallace Stevens nailed it when he wrote – “Death is the mother of beauty. Only the perishable can be beautiful, which is why we are unmoved by artificial flowers.”
GOD KEEPS SHOWING UP
Funny how we can find in death-reminders some great life-reminders. Our work during Lent is to see how very present God is, and knowing that can make us better for others. Psalm 139 tells us God even shows up in the darkest “god-forsaken” corners offering life (see passage here). For Christians, we put this to the test when we look for God-in-the-flesh even as Jesus during Passion Week is arrested & tortured & publicly executed – all for announcing the coming of God’s Reign.
HOLY WEEK AT CENTRAL
We think we know the story of Jesus’ passion, dying, resurrection. But there is so much to take in that story, we need a slow walk thru to let it form us. Gather with others at Central Church to worship and ponder in these power-packed days of Holy Week. Here’s the schedule. I especially hope you can join the Wednesday soup meal where we’ll share a simple service of Holy Communion around dinner tables, and walk with Jesus in his Passion. The 3 days of Easter weekend, called the Tridium, offers several gatherings for letting God’s story sink into us anew.
Whether you pay close attention or not during Lent, we can still slow down and try to notice how God is in all things. Lent offers us the opportunity to tear away all that would blind us, or numb us to that reality.
For some that will come through fasting from mindless consumption of whatever distracts us. For others it will come from radical service to the neighbor, or even by remotely walking the labyrinth – releasing & embracing. The important thing is to slow down and notice how God shows up in all places – in life, in death, in life beyond death.
Looking for God in the usual, & the not-so-usual places,