Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Lenten Longings

I grew up in non-liturgical churches.  My dad introduced me to the Episcopal Church when I was in high school and I really liked the structure and reverence of the worship service.  So when I got to college and had a hard time finding a church that I enjoyed, I went to another Episcopal Church.  I found great comfort in the formality.

While checking Facebook, I see that many of my friends are observing Lent and fasting from something as a way to remember the sacrifice that Christ made for us.  I've only observed Lent once in my 32 years and that was while I was in the Peace Corps.  I decided not to drink alcohol for 40 days because they notoriously "made" me drink too much.  When they asked why, I told them it wasn't unlike Ramadan.  Does anyone else see the irony of me telling Muslims that I wasn't going to drink?  Anyway, the churches I grew up in  would say that the observence of Lent is "legalistic" or "religious" and not "freedom from the law" and "relationship".

I, however, think there is probably a balance.  Just as The Faithful are not required to have "quiet time" every day, it is a devotional thing.  It's an opportunity to re-center ourselves on The One who saved us and is continuing to sanctify us making us just a little more like Him.   So what's wrong with 40 days of remembrance?  Not a thing.  For me, giving up chocolate wouldn't be anything like giving up The Throne.  For me, giving up caffeine isn't going to help me wake up enough to worship Him.  For me, giving up couponing would put my family at a disadvantage.

So I've been mulling it over... what can I give up?

But those of you who know that I used to have a nose ring, you know that I am likely to be rebellious before religious and I've decided to give something instead.  I will do an inventory every day for the next 40 to see if I've given myself to someone else.  It might be reading "Oh My Oh My Oh Dinosaur" one more time than I want to or a tea party with style.  It might be asking a friend what they really need AND THEN be ready and willing to give it.  It might be a bag to the food bank or, heaven forbid, a back rub for my husband.

I suppose you could say that I'm committing to give up myself and my time and my energy.  But I usually try to phrase things in the positive when I disciple my children and I respond to that better myself.