Who are you, truly? What do you value, for yourself and others? What does your life stand for?
These are the questions of the season on Lent. Lent is not a time that is about battling virtues and vice, of trying to do our own little “self-improvement projects,” or some kind of re-do on our now failed New Years Resolutions. Lent instead is a season that is intended to help us to return to the knowledge of who we most deeply are, and whose we are. A time to return to our relationship with Jesus.
When thinking of Lent, many folks often think of Lenten sacrifice. What should I give up for Lent? Some people give up chocolate for Lent, others give up Facebook. Lent is seen as a time to break a bad habit or a time to reject something that somehow causes a prick of my own conscience.
Frankly, I am unsure whether God really cares about how much candy I eat, or whether I can’t miss my friends social networking posts. Instead, God cares whether I love others and not just those closest to me. God does care whether I help to feed the hungry or nurture a relationship with my community. God cares whether I spend time with God in prayer and worship. Lent is not just a season about self-denial; Lent is a season about reordering our desires, our patterns of being, and our patterns of living to seek first the kingdom of God and God’s righteousness. And it is also a time to explore and deepen our relationship with God, who so desires that we know God. This Lent, I hope to look up from the self-indulgent guilt of worrying about chocolates and “screen time” and instead look out to a world that is crying for my compassion, and towards a God who so desires my attention.
There are so many ways to mark the season with St. Paul’s, I invite you to pick one or two, and join in the practices of this season. I invite you into a Holy Lent.