Lent in Present Tense, Step 2.
Originally Published at Restoration Anglican Church’s blog.
A few weeks ago I reflected on my personal blog about the realities of Lenten devotion. The inconvenience of sacrifice brought pain that spiritual endorphins pre-Lent had blinded me to. I expected to feel holy, but I just felt frustrated. As it turns out, practicing Lent is more difficult than thinking about it before hand.
Now, though, the pendulum has swung and my Lenten observance has become almost wrote; I barely remember it except for a few moments at the beginning and end of my days. It’s become easy for me to find new, Lent-approved distractions to fill the void left from my fasting. I’m both tired of the Lenten season and numb to my particular fast.
I saw this a few days ago when I heard someone mention that she doesn’t even miss the food she chose to abstain from. In an “adopt a healthy diet” sense, this is a good sign, but her fast isn’t necessarily encouraging reliance on Christ.
Here, at the halfway point, lies a great time to reassess and adapt our Lenten practices: Is there a new perspective or habit I hoped to gain from Lent? Is there a spiritual practice I planned to incorporate? What did I hope to gain from this particular form of fasting?
Before Lent, I envisioned spending some extended time in prayer, reading, and reflection, which I haven’t scheduled yet. I planned to commit a Scripture to memory related to my area of justice, and I have yet to pick a reference. With nearly three weeks left, though, it’s not too late to reincorporate these realities into my life. By making concrete plan to spend time in quiet and prayer, I can recenter my heart and mind on God’s work in and through me in this season.
It’s also not too late to incorporate Lent as a family. If you chose to make a sacrifice as a family a few weeks ago, it might be time to recommit to prayer for justice. Maybe a family fast didn’t happen this year, but there’s still time to adopt a service project like cleaning up a neighbor’s yard, sending cards or pictures to an ill family member of friend, or choose to pool financial resources to make a donation to a local ministry.
I’m reminded of Christ’s admonition to his disciples that the Sabbath was implemented for people as a day of rest; people weren’t made just to follow the rules of the Sabbath (Mark 2:23-27). The season of Lent comes to the church as a time for quiet repentance, a reminder to yearn for justice, and an anticipation of resurrection life in God’s Kingdom.