“What are you giving up?”
As some of you engage in Lent and have conversations with others about this season, this question will probably be a frequent one you hear, ask others, or have already heard too much. Most people associate this time with just getting rid of something for a time and then picking it back up once Easter arrives. It is not a bad thing really to be associated with, for in a culture of excess the move of giving up seems provocative, it seems counter to what is familiar. Losing is not something we like to be accustomed to. And doesn’t it seem like we are in fact losing something in Lent? Sometimes it does feel like a subtraction problem.
Me – sweets= Lent, or
Me- soda= Lent, or
Me- Facebook= Lent.
This can go on and on. I was asked today what I thought the point of Lent was, and if I could sum it up in one phrase. I thought about it for a second and then said, “creating space.” Now that may still sound like a subtraction problem, but in my mind it is really not. By creating space we create an openness where something can now fill it. We can’t leave the space open and void, something enters into it no matter what. It is simply about what we will allow to be there in the absence of other things So what if Lent is actually an addition to our lives, not a subtraction. Yes, we may lose for a time whatever it is we are giving up. But maybe through this process we will actually gain something much better. Maybe we’ll get back into writing more and engaging our faith through that medium? Perhaps we will spend more valuable time having meaningful conversations about what truly matters in life? There is the possibility that the presence of God that we have felt so keenly absent of will start to make itself more known again when we start to add things into our life that feed our spirituality instead of take from it.
But Lent isn’t magic, just because we create more space it does not mean that somehow God will now be summoned in a way he wasn’t before. Practicing the discipline simply puts us on a path where God’s grace can flow more clearly if we just stay attentive. God is speaking and moving no matter what, Lent just helps us clear our blurry eyes and lessen the noise that surrounds us constantly so that we may see and hear better. So maybe the question we should be asking ourselves and others this season is:
What will you add?
Grace and Peace
Just a quick note before I get into today’s reflection: The next couple of days I will putting up some quotes from other authors/theologians/thinkers/etc. due to the fact that I will be extremely busy with some projects early this week. I will be back Wednesday with my own thoughts but I still wanted to be active about blogging every day through Lent. I hope people will still drop by, in fact I may have more visits since I will not be writing!