Saturday, June 30, 2007

Thoughts On Lent

(Originally posted February, 2007).

Lent starts on Wednesday. At some point, the conversation always turns to "What are you giving up?" I always give up Coke, with varying degrees of success. At Bridgeport, we tried to shift the conversation from the idea of giving something up as self-denial, to adding something helpful, like a spiritual practice. I like that idea.

Songbird offers yet another way of thinking about this question.

You may think of Lent as a time for giving things up: Pepsi or chocolate or smoking, usually something you like and think you shouldn’t. I like to turn it around the other way, to seek out what is essential for the journey we will take to


in the coming weeks, walking alongside Jesus. I’ll be reducing piles of papers and magazines, recycling where it’s possible, reusing or repurposing what I can, and most importantly reassessing where I spend my time and energy. I think of it as a Spring Cleaning of the inner house.

Such tidying is sometimes painful. Sometimes we do need to give things up, to put things down, and even to throw things away. When we recognize that an affiliation or a commitment or a relationship no longer honors who we are called to be, we may find ourselves saying unexpected farewells. The people who followed Jesus to


left their families and their work behind; they traveled with only what they wore, counting on the hospitality of others for their bed and board. They knew where their treasure lay; they found it in the life and heart of their friend and teacher.

Wow. I just love this. Perhaps this is what Lent is about -- discerning what is essential for the journey. I will have to think about this more.

I'm pretty sure Coke isn't essential, though...