How’s Lent been going for you? Me? I’m really terrible at it. My husband majored in Lent, growing up Catholic, but not me. It was never part of our faith tradition, and now it always seems to sneak up on me and all of a sudden it’s Ash Wednesday and I’m stressed about what I should or shouldn’t be doing or giving up, and what the meaning is supposed to be.
Am I supposed to identify with Jesus’ sacrifice or am I supposed to fast from worldly stuff that is sucking the life of Jesus out of me, or am I supposed to pull back to reflect on All Of The Deep Things?
Those words “should” and “supposed to” float through the air in slow motion like a hand grenade or a heat seeking missile looking for where it can do the most damage. I end up feeling muddled and guilty that I haven’t done it “right”, whatever “right” is.
I can’t find the word “Lent” in my concordance, and certainly not “Thou shalt prepare for Easter by…” But I do think intentional preparation for Easter is a good thing.
I think the idea of Lent is to help us pay attention to God and life and death and resurrection the way it would be good to pay attention to Him all the time – like at 5 o’clock on a July evening when we’re sitting on the patio eating burgers, or on October 3rd in line at the grocery store.
So I’ve muddled through Lent again this year, unlike a young friend I mentor who has fasted from pop (but only brown pop), and sweets (but not on on her birthday or during the week she was in Italy, and chocolate covered almonds don’t count). I laugh at her, but she says even this has really helped her pay attention and turn to Jesus in the moments she wants things she is sacrificing.
You cannot have resurrection without death.
I do believe this, and I want to enter into Jesus’ death this Holy Week so that I can more fully celebrate His resurrection on Sunday.
So I’ve decided to fast from social media and the techy stuff that distracts me from Jesus – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, radio, and emails with links to articles and videos that lead me down trails away from the cross. I know, it’s cliché, but I think it will be effective.
And I’ve decided to follow Jesus towards the cross by reading, reflecting each day on His experience, and posting some thoughts. I’d love it if you’d like to join me in either part of this (the fast or the reading).
Here’s the timeline for Holy week:
Sunday – Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem (Mt. 21:1-11)
Monday – Jesus curses fig tree and clears temple (Mt. 21:12-27)
Tuesday – Jesus’ authority questioned, teaches in temple, anointed in Bethany (Mt. 21:23-23:39; 26:6-13)
Wednesday – The plot against Jesus (Mt. 26:14-16)
Thursday – Last Supper (Mt. 26:17-29), Jesus comforts disciples (John 14:1-16:33), Jesus’ high priestly prayer (John 17:1-26), Gethsemane (Mt. 26:36-46)
Friday – Arrest and trial (Mt. 26:47-27:26), Crucifixion and death (Mt. 27:27-56), burial (Mt. 27:57-66)
I’d love to hear if there are other meaningful ways you have prepared for Easter this Lent!