Lent starts tomorrow. I wonder if Jesus would understand if I told him that I’m just not feeling it this year. What a lame thing to tell a guy who was slaughtered on a cross, but I’m not feeling it. I’m not feeling the giving up of anything. I am not feeling the new evangelical pacifier of adding something “holy” to my already mundane spiritual life–well, it’s not mundane but it is stuffed with “holy” things. Interestingly, part of being holy is being set apart. Once you pack your life so full of holy things are any of them really holy anymore? They certainly aren’t set apart in the way things that are holy should be set apart.
I am not feeling going to church for the next six weeks thinking about one of the most heinous acts of violence ever perpetrated. You know, I can’t even call it one of the worst acts of violence, because from where I sit right now there are many more serious acts of violence than one man dying on a cross. Millions of people are trafficked in slavery every year, children die everyday because of AIDS or hunger, people huddle together under bridges for warmth, and I worry about not feeling the giving up of chocolate, alcohol, or extraneous pleasures. What would I do if I were one of the many, many people who never had any of those luxuries to begin with? How would I honor Jesus during Lent if I had nothing to start with? Perhaps that is my area of contemplation during Lent, how would I show Jesus I get it, if I had nothing to begin with? Do I even know what it means to be without, to fast, to renounce myself? Is that what it is about? Is that how we are supposed to identify with Jesus’ final days?
I feel so fortunate but also burdened by the “stuff” around me. Is it bad to want nice things when I could travel to the south side of HC and find people living in trailers with no floors? Is it enough to think about this discrepency or is the point of Lent realizing that I need to do something about it? I have spent most seasons of Lent thinking about my relationship with God, which I think is valuable, but have I ever really thought about where my relationship with God is moving me? Where did Jesus’ love of God move him? I think that is the point–it moved him to death. Am I willing to be moved to death?
Spirituality is something I have struggled with all of my life, but I feel like struggle is healthy. Questioning is healthy. Raising my fist and shouting is healthy. I think today I feel like raising a fist. So there, God…I’m not feeling like Lent!
“Love and faithfulness meet together; righteousness and peace kiss each other.”