Lent . . . beginning tomorrow . . .
Lent begins tomorrow and is the time when Christians pray, fast, and reflect in preparation for Easter. The Christians observance of self-reflection, and oftentimes fasting, during Lent is something I’d never done. I mean, I’d heard of it, understood that Catholics ate Fish on Fridays, but didn’t really understand the emphasis on the fasting part.
You see, as a former Protestant, we didn’t observe Lent . . . strictly speaking.
Fast? Perish the thought.
The fast is supposed to give the person fasting the time they would otherwise spend on other things to spend that time on God. I can totally understand making time for God. Get up early? Sure. Cut out alcohol or chocolate? I can do that.
But here’s the thing: all I remember my friends who fasted in High School doing was trying to sneak those forbidden, fasted, things. Not so much about making time for God.
It’s not just that a fast seems like something to rebel against, but it feels like God is something to be dreaded. I don’t dread God, but more than that: I don’t want my children to dread God. I want them to focus on His goodness.
So, since we’re now Episcopalians, I have incorporated Lent into our annual rhythm. Of course, we focus on Lent at church, but in our family – in our home – we focus on God. However, instead of fasting, we add in.
Add? How can you possibly think about God by adding in?
It’s actually pretty easy: God is Good. Gods gifts are all around us and it’s much easier to focus on Him if we focus on all of our blessings. When we crowd our ‘fun’ thing in, we can thank God for taking the time to focus on Him and each other. I wrote about this last year, but by adding something we love to our day, we add our time with Him with joy.
What is the significance of so little time? How does this relate to my faith?
As I wrote last year: Our daily activity must be something we love, we must do it daily, and it can’t take more than 5-10 minutes. In doing what we love, with deliberance — and possibly exuberance — we will know this time has been earmarked because of Lent. Our gratitude and thankfulness for taking the time, energy, and love to mindfully focus on our passions is a pleasure. Our pleasure for our indulgence of following our passions will allow us more space, with grace, to love God more.