Ash Wednesday tomorrow. I know a fair amount of people of faith who don't know anything about Lent. Too Catholic for many more conservative folk of a certain Protestant bent. But for many of us Lent makes sense and it is a good practice.
Lent prepares us for what is to come in the ups, downs and majesty of Holy Week. It is about preparation. It's about getting ready. It's about a spiritual readiness so we can enter into Holy Week with eyes wide open. We get there through some very intentional spiritual practices.
A common Lenten question is "What are you giving up?" The belief is that in the 'sacrifice' one readies his/her heart and soul for whatever God is about to do next. It reminds us of the 'sacrifice' on the cross.
I'm going to do some things that will be good for my spiritual health and that includes giving up some guilty pleasures. I want God to speak into my life. Prayer, fasting, and sacrifice are time tested ways to prepare to receive what God is trying to get me to hear.
Do you ever feel that you're standing at a major life crossroad? Sure you do. At least I hope you do. That's a bit of my naivete I'm afraid. Because I know full well that all too many have very poorly developed spiritual antennae and could be in the middle of the biggest crossroad of life and not even think of listening for God. If that's you. Might I suggest that you wake up. Sorry if that sounds harsh but someone's got to say it to you.
Lots of people use Lent as a means of earning brownie points with God. It's kind of an empty religious tradition that doesn't lead to any sort of life transformation. The best I can determine this spiritual life isn't about 'brownie points'. That's kid stuff. Just about everyone reading this is well beyond childhood. You don't need brownie points. You need a real, honest, authentic relationship with the God who loves you like crazy.
I'm really looking forward to Lent this year. There's some things I need to figure out. So in big and small ways I'm going to press the 'pause' button on my life. I'm going to live with some intentionality fully expecting God to show up. What about you? How are you going to do Lent this year? How do you want God to show up in your life?