A song that keeps going around and around in my head is from the movie: Frozen. It’s called: Let it go! About 10 days ago, I wrote about one of the great themes of Lent being about stopping and waiting and praying. Another great theme of lent has to do with letting go.
Sometimes we express this in challenging each other to give something up for Lent. And, some of us do try to give something up for Lent, like chocolate, or coffee, or the internet, or tv. I used to challenge my congregations not just to give something up but to take something on by way of sacrifice. Give up a meal during Lent and give the money that it would cost to a homeless shelter. Or, write a letter (does anybody do that anymore) to someone you’ve been meaning to touch base with, or call someone, or visit someone, or...
The list could go on and on. The point is that if I give up something or do something extra these things afford me the opportunity to focus for a bit on God, on my spiritual life, on the meaning of life.
Let it go! Is there something that you need to let go of during Lent? Letting go is a natural part of our faith in God in Christ. It’s a part of life. Maybe you need to let go of a grudge. I don’t know who’s reading this, but I do know you’re human and our human tendency is to stack up things that people have done to us. Make a list; check it twice. And, the normal human tendency is to cut them off, to write them off. In a very few cases, there’s nothing left to do. Even then, we forgive, let it go, and move on. Right?
I know someone who has been a Christian all her life, but years ago someone said something to her in church that hurt her feelings. I’m not playing down the hurt. The hurt is real. But, what could happen, if in the light of God’s love for all, she could let it go? It might open up all kinds of creative possibility. Whatever that person said to you that hurt, said more about her than it did about you. It’s not about you. This would mean that I will not live my life as if others have control over my life. I am ultimately the one who makes the decision to live out my life believing that God in Jesus loves me, no matter what. You are a child of God, precious in his sight. You are loved. You are surrounded by grace in family and friends.
Sure, you have to deal with the feelings. But, in faith we can let it go and move on.
Abraham and Sarah were old when God called them to father/mother the nation of Israel. They had to let go of all the supports of life, family and friends. They left what was familiar and moved on with God’s guidance.
A pastor friend has a wall paper in her office on which is printed the words over and over again: Let go; trust God. Let go; trust God. Let go; trust God.
At every stage of life, we experience things and people and events. It’s a kind of dying. Death means that we let go so that we may come to resurrection.
Henri Nouwen says that prayer is best done with open hands. Open hands can’t grasp too tightly or hold on to what needs to pass. What do you need to let go off this Lent?
Let go; let God.