God has been a part of my life for almost as long as I can remember. But Lent wasn’t a significant part of worship in the churches we attended. So, I was intrigued and curious when I would see my Catholic or more liturgical friends show up on Ash Wednesday with a cross on their forehead.
So, with the season of Lent at hand, chatter about what it means and why it’s observed bantered around our carpool drop-off this morning.
“What is Lent,” floated the youngest.
“It’s when you fast from something,” said one. “You know, give it up.”
“Why would you do that?” the youngest really wanted to know.
So I shared my limited knowledge (something I”m accustomed to doing :). “I’m pretty sure Lent began as a way for Catholics to remind themselves about the value of repentance. People tend to choose something in their life, usually something they really like, to give up as a remembrance of what Christ did for them—at least that’s how I understand it.”
The church where I was raised never discouraged or encouraged observing Lent. But I’m all for a season of focus and surrender before the Lord, especially in light of the Cross.
“I think give is really the operative word,” I added. “It’s kind of fun to focus on giving. I was thinking the other day that I’d like to focus on give—through giving, giving up, and giving in.”
On the giving front, I was recently inspired by Janet Denison and her recent blog post, “God is Kind.” She had been moved by a gentleman who did the simple act of holding a door open for her at the Post Office. An act that might seem insignificant, especially in the South, but made all the more sweet since two other people had walked past her trying to manage a large package, gather her mail, hold her purse, find the keys and get through a door all at the same time.
It was a simple gesture of kindness on that man’s part, but it meant a lot to me. As I drove home I found myself wondering why. Simple kindness should be the norm, but that day at the post office, it was an exception. I am typically quick to hold a door, but there have been times when I was in a hurry and didn’t pay attention. Sometimes I hold the door, but I don’t meet the person’s eye and smile. I often hold the door without saying anything at all. This man held the door, smiled, and spoke to me. He was kind.
So, I think I am going to focus my Lenten season on giving kindness instead of giving up something. I know that kindness shouldn’t be just for a season, but maybe if I place that focus on my life for a season it will form a godly habit in this hurried life I lead.
I love her inspiration to GIVE in addition to or instead of giving up for Lent.
Still, I feel like I could use a little giving up, especially in the food category. I don’t like how easy it is to grab and eat whatever, whenever. So, I’m thinking of punting refined sugar. Which around this house is a small feat since one of its inhabitants has been on a baking rampage. My word, the girl can bake. Everything she makes is beyond yummy, almost always at hand and by far and away my favorite things to eat. She’s okay with my short reprieve, not taking it personally, but will certainly rub in any hiatus from her treats.
Then giving-in, something that has been on my mind a lot. By that, I mean a conscious giving-in to the complete and total salvation that came with Christ’s death on the cross—the power of which is at hand today. I’m a bit tired of the world’s winning ways so often driven by fear/pressures/expectations/etc. and usually centered on performance. What if we really let eternity inform today and saw things through the lens of salvific-perfection?
We know that we are saved by faith through grace, but we tend to shelve a portion of salvation to be realized upon our entrance into heaven—like we’ve been thrown a lifeline that keeps us from drowning, but we’re still in the water. It’s easy to look longingly toward heaven, but what if we can realize the abundance of complete and total salvation—TODAY.
I recently watched Tangled with the kids (I love it as much as they do.) And I thought about Rapunzel being a daughter of the king—saved from the tower that had held her prisoner for so many years, pretty much her whole life. What if when she discovers the truth that she is the daughter of the King, accepts the birthright but never enters the castle and all the flourishing abundance of her salvation? What if she she just stays in a boat, on the water outside of the city, waiting for the day/someday instead of experiencing flourishing abundance TODAY.
Hmmm . . .
Well, I know when entering a period of fasting or such, it’s best to not talk about it. So, just sharing my thoughts.
The kid exiting our car this morning loved the concept of Lent and giving.
“Great! I like that you’re going to give,” he said as he hopped out. “After school, can you give me some money?”
Always keeping it real around here.