Lent Week Three
It is already the third week of Lent and how is your Lenten discipline? I have to say in all honesty, mine has waned a bit. Each year I want to keep the promise I have made to myself Ash Wednesday but somehow I lose focus. I ask myself why? I make excuses: I set the bar too high or how does giving up chocolate make me understand Jesus' 40 days in the desert? I do and it doesn't.
What I do know is I can start and re-start my Lenten discipline as many times as I need. So today I re-commit to my Lenten discipline and I am sure I will again tomorrow. We are not called to be perfect but rather to understand our human foibles and work out from there. I have many faults and perhaps because I spend so much time thinking about them, I shy away from Lent. It might serve me and if you are like me to have a Lenten discipline where the focus is not giving something up but rather realizing where I fit into the human tapestry. I will then be able to serve God more fully.
Lent day two and I am reflecting on the service last night and how meaningful it was for so many. I addressed something that has troubled me for years which is how they Church has used gimmicks in attempt to appear relevant. The idea of "Ashes to Go" at face value sounds like an interesting premise and a way to reach out to people. But for those of us who take this aspect of our faith seriously I find it offensive.
Now we have "Glitter Ash" which is another way the Church has found to use a sacred moment in a cheap way. Now please understand I have nothing against the LGBTQ community. I believe we are all loved by God. As I asked last night why do we keep having to segment ourselves into groups? Don't we all want to be one and seen as equals? Dietrich Bonhoeffer writes of "cheap grace" in "The Cost of Discipleship" which is grace offered freely without any thought given to true repentance. When we mix the sacred with the secular we are cheapening those things we profess to be important to us in order to appear "with it." It is little wonder the Church appears to be anything but relevant and looks in my mind to be a rather foolish.
Let's get back to doing the real work of Jesus which is loving neighbor and serving the poor, not being mesmerized by every shiny thing that comes our way-including glitter.
It has been far too long!
I have been chastising myself for not writing and posting on our website. It has been a rough couple of months-Type A flu! Now that I am beginning to feel somewhat like myself-heaven help us all-I promise myself to write and post more.
We are quickly approaching the season of Lent and I often am asked, "What are you giving up for Lent?" My response varies from year to year. I do not as a rule give up anything because I can't quite equate Jesus in the wilderness for forty days with not eating chocolate. It jars my sensibilities and for me makes light of a serious season. What I try to do, and some years I am more successful than others, is to add something to my daily routine of spiritual substance. I have not quite decided yet what that will be; but I will post it Ash Wednesday and write about it everyday.
In the meantime, I invite you to think about what it is you want for your Lenten discipline. Send me a comment. I am interested in knowing more.