Observing the Lenten Season
I nearly missed it. I went to the community Bible Study group I attend last night and realized it was Ash Wednesday. This was of course after I ate a very tasty cookie with some amazing caramel in it. I live in a very Catholic dominated area. Though I had driven by a church with many many cars around it I didn’t think much of it, despite it being the middle of the week. The car ride to study included a discussion of my friends’ son. He decided, without their encouragement, to observe lent and “fast” from unnecessary internet. Then Amanda came in with ashes on her forehead and I was further struck by the importance of the day. Here I was finishing up my cookie and thinking about a second and I was disappointed in myself. The cookie is of significance as for the last 3 years I have given up sweets, in all forms, for Lent.
If you rewind 4 years observing Lent is nothing I had ever done. I never thought I would be able to follow through and then observing Lent during one seasons has turned into 3 observed seasons. The discipline has meant to me denying just a little part of myself in anticipation of Easter. My disappointment in myself is not that I broke this lent tradition, and quite honestly I would like to observe lent in some way this year, it was about not slowing down. Though I have been spending time in Bible reading and prayer it has been more rushed than I would like. I have not been thinking that Easter is coming. Though I have heard Easter mentioned at church, and seen the chocolate bunnies and yellow peeps out, I didn’t pause. I have not paused to reflect on what this season will mean for me. I nearly missed it. Yet I am so very thankful that a teenager’s Lenten internet fast and Amanda’s observance of Ash Wednesday jarred me back to what is important. The Cross of Christ, and all that it represents, is central to my life. The day that we celebrate Christ’s life, death, and resurrection is not just a day rather it is core to my life and all that I believe and should be celebrating and living for each day.
I went to a Catholic Mass for a funeral on Saturday and the crucifix hung boldly over the front altar as it does in all Catholic Churches. The body of Christ still on the cross has always been hard for me. This church though had another cross at the back of the church that you would only see if you lifted your eyes up as you looked on your way out. It was another cross with a vision of Jesus alive with his arms wide open. This Lenten season I don’t want to miss looking up and reflecting first on the cross but then the resurrection and what it means to my life.