It’s the week before Holy Week, so probably not the ideal time for a pastor to start a blog, but–hey!–perhaps it will help me organize my thoughts. You can probably be the judge of that!
In December, people always comment about how busy I must be with all the services and the special events; but Advent is a walk in the park compared to Lent and Holy Week. I confess that I’ve fallen into the trap of taking on what I hope are wise and useful practices during Lent instead of giving something up. After all, who needs more struggle and gloom in a world that’s too full of it anyway?
However, I’m re-thinking that. I know how to add things on, how to power through the weeks with added obligations, knowing that once Easter’s here, I can let go of those “extras” and get back to a more sane schedule. Ha! Who am I kidding? The discipline I–and maybe you–really need is the discipline to pare down, to stop stuffing things into my schedule (or my mouth), to leave a little space for the Holy to have some breathing room in me. I’m not sure that giving up ice cream is the way to do that, but it’s at least a reminder to be a little empty.
I love the reminder that trees give us during February and March (usually), which is that without the distraction of leaves and blossoms and such, you can really see the structure–the trunk and branches–that stands underneath. What is it that the paring away in Lent might reveal about us?
If you’ve given something up for Lent, the end is in sight! I hope whatever discipline you may have taken on has indeed “taught” you something (that’s what the word means) about yourself or about God. That learning is worth taking with you through Easter and beyond, as we “begin again.” Every day, every moment, every breath, is an opportunity to begin again, but Easter– for those of us who find meaning and power and grace in the story of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection– Easter is the “mother” of all beginnings!
May you be blessed on the journey.