The Season of Lent is our season of preparation for Easter. Like Advent before Christmas, it calls us to give ourselves to a time of devotion, worship and prayer, so that we might properly celebrate when Christmas comes. Lent, unlike Advent, is not a time when we are in a rush to get somewhere. Even our secular culture rushes to get to Christmas, getting started with it as soon as Halloween is over. We could argue, maybe, as to why we are in such a hurry to get to Christmas. Is it commercial? Sure. Or, is it because the times are so filled with bad news that we can’t wait...
Lent is not that way. I don’t know anybody who is in a hurry to get to Easter. Also, Lent is longer than Advent and affords us more time to reflect, if we will, on this great journey of faith. Lent, in part, is that call to slow down, for God’s sake.
Being slow has not been a problem with me. (Don’t say a word!) I am by nature a person who enjoys taking my time. Sure I can waste time with the best of them, but taking my time is in my soul. I have always felt that part of being a disciple was going slower than the rest of the world, particularly when this present world seems to be in such a rush to get somewhere, where it doesn’t seem to know.
Now, don’t mistake my slowness with “not caring”, or not being interested. It’s just that the older I get the more I realize that each moment is precious. And, I don’t want to miss a single minute. Now, I know it’s March and I’m into March Madness and I don’t want to miss a single game. OK. I know that’s madness. But more, I’m talking about the moments of our lives. Every minute of every hour, every hour of every day, every day of every week, every week of every month, every month of every year...it’s all a gift. It’s not a burden. It’s not a problem to be solved or figured out. It’s not a space to fill up. It’s a gift.
Lent is a call to slow down. Maybe it’s a call even to stop. It’s a call to stop judging, and earning, and moving, and achieving, and worrying, and doing so that we can worship and pray more. God doesn’t seem to have a problem with stopping for Sabbath. “On the seventh day, God rested...”.
God rested and so should we. We rest in prayer and worship.
Lent is also a time to give up something, something that compels your attention. Most of us know what we need to give up for our soul’s sake. Lent gives us the opportunity to do just that.
Now, Lent is not about just focusing on your own self. God help us. NO. We rest, we stop, we slow down to focus on the gift of God’s love in Jesus Christ for us and for the whole world.
Check back with me in this season to ask: how am I doing?