I’ve been thinking about Lent after we read a real thought provoking essay on it the other night at Bible study. It got me to thinking. I don’t think a lot, so when something really gets my mind spinning, I have to process it. Sometimes aloud, sometimes not. This time, though, I feel like sharing where my head is.
When Lent rolls around, I think of what to give up – no, can’t do coffee; no, I like beer too much; no, giving up work doesn’t count – in order to feel the suffering of Christ. What thing will align me more with Christ and what he gave? He, his life. Me, electricity. I think that what I’ve been doing is far off. Sure, abstaining from beer and giving the alms that I would’ve spent on it is a good thing, but not the point.
The Lenten season is a time when people spend 40 days aligning their lives more in tune with the truth of Christ, that they might enter the time of Baptism on Easter Sunday with clear eyes and full hearts, as it were. It isn’t about doing without. It is about moving into.
Which made me realize this year that I don’t need to give up something. That I need to add something. I need to bring back time in the word, time in prayer (mainly for others), time with God. I guess, in effect, that in doing so, I will give up something: myself and my desires. Simple right?
There was a time when I could spend an hour each day reading and thinking about spiritual things. That time was college. A time that passed a decade ago. Life has progressed and cities have changed and I’ve found ways to spend time in the morning designing posters that are fine and good and profitable but that leave me coming up short. I realize that I’ve been doing all these things under my own power. The times I’ve prayed and sought God’s wisdom are largely for me and my benefit. Lord, grow our family. God, bless and make profitable Old Try. Father, give me joy. Hope. Feelings. Community. Job offers. Things.
Very briefly I will think: I must become less, He must become greater. Then I will go back to self-praise.
I’ve realized as of late that my prayers are for my benefit but not my procurement. I should come humbly. Realize my inabilities. Lay myself down before something greater. I’m not Moses. My intercessions won’t change God’s plans. But they will help me realize that I’m not in control of them, and that my acceptance of them aren’t something that will come without questions or reservations. But my humility and acceptance should come like Job. I must continue through the uncertainty and trials with thanksgiving and reverence.
That’s kind of it. For the remainder of Lent, I will spend more time in prayer and reflection. Not for me. Not for Old Try. For others. For the glory of God to shine on the earth. To accept His lot for me in life. For His will to be done.
Good news is that I’ll have plenty of coffee and beer in the meantime to mull-it-over over. And Lord willing, there will be plenty of time in to design posters come April.