Monday, March 16, 2009

40 Ways of Lent.

The trials of Lent have been unforgiving.
it’s what I asked of them, for them to test me and push me
As I sit as still as I can in the face of it.
It has been my experience that Lent is a time
When people give up things they like in favor of
A Jesus they don’t really know.
I wont eat chocolate.
I wont go out every night.
I wont spend money frivolously.
I wont over eat.
I wont drive to fast.
I wont swear.
I wont, I wont, I wont.
For 40 days we wont.
Then we will.
And it was nothing but a temporary inconvenience.
In the name of the Lord Jesus,
We wont.

I thought of everything I could give up for 40 days
And there were lists of bad behaviors and old habits
That I could confine to the rest of my life and free up
Those 40 days.
My job of ‘getting behind Jesus’ on this one.
Nothing fit.
At this point in my life I don’t want to give anything up for 40 days.
If I give it up, it needs to be for the rest of my life.
That’s where I am stuck most often…
You need to make it count, make what you do matter.
You can give up for favorite food for 40 days,
But could you have given up your life?
Could you have walked for miles and miles to your own death?
Is that worth the weight of the chocolate you gave up?
The drink you aren’t having?
The money don’t spend?
Or are you perhaps not really meeting the bottom line on this one?

I think everyone has their own account they keep with the Lord.
We know what we’ve withdrawn, what we put in, what we owe in overdrafts and what we can expect this months loan payment to be.
But the Lord keeps no account with us, he isn’t noting in a ledger
That does and donts of everything we are doing.
He (yes, I’m afraid I like to think of the Lord as a man) doesn’t need
The petty moments of our life to figure us out.
He knows the worst of you, the best of you…
The right and wrongs.
He makes no lists, keeps no tally and you can’t shock him with any amount of fear or deliverance.
He is there for you, waiting for you.
He has no agenda but I think he has a full understanding that we need
To make all of that work for us down here.
We cannot remain at peace with ourselves.
So we give things up, we give ourselves over to sufferings and
Acts of contrition…
We pray, weep, sing and praise to let him know the things he knows
Already, he loves us and stands over us like the eyes of a parent
Over a baby who is learning to just take those first unsteady steps.

What does all this have to do with Lent?
It has to do with my decisions for this Lent.
I couldn't give anything up and make it matter, because my life
Is all that I have to give up that could possibly express the truth
Of what was given and lived…
And so many people I know are set against me giving that up
(maybe I will call you my apostles, my Judas’.. my Peters…
but in this I am no Jesus, too weak to walk to my knowing death)

what would God have me do, if I were not so young and opposed (as children often are to their parents demands). What would he ask of me in this season of Lent.
If I ask
“Father, what would you have me do to show that I am aware of your love and the forgiveness your Son laid upon me and my sins?”

Like any good parent
He was quick to answer.

This Lent I do not give up anything at all.
I give in. I give in to His plan, His path.
I give in to His control and stopped grasping for my own.
I give in to the truth as it presents itself.
I give in to the understanding that I will not and cannot understand
And must just continue as He sees fit for me to continue.
I give in to acceptance, love, belief, trust.
I give in to the Lord, because that is what I have.
I am no saint, this is not a simple task.
It is hard to let go when you are accustomed to fighting everything.
It is a battle against my own willfulness
but in the end, after 40 days, When Jesus dies and is resurrected once more..
this is still who I am.
No temporary inconvenience, but a lifelong gratitude.

3 comments:

Sarah L. Knapp said...

Well said. Very well said my friend.

Jennifer said...

This is the most profound thing I've ever read in my life. I'd like your permission to pass it around, and let me know if you want credit. It effected me very very deeply.

SuperCoolNothing said...

Feel free to share it at will. Maybe some piece of my journey is the key to helping someone else on theirs and I am not one to deny anyones journey.