Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Singing and Dancing into Lent

Last week, most of the Christian world started the season of Lent. It is a time thought of by many as serious, reflective, or even somber because most churches observe Lent with quieter, more restrained worship and "disciplines" such as giving up something you love, special offerings for the poor, and additional time in prayer. It's meant to be a time for focusing closely on our mortality and our need for God. (To be fair, one of my professors once said, "Lent should be sober, not somber.")

Many people love the tone of Lent and find the reflective tone to be one of the richest experiences of the church year. (I am one of them.) But I also know people who struggle with it and have had people describe Lent as "a downer." Instead of sharpening focus, the practices of Lent seem distracting or grating to them.

Therefore, it seemed like a happy coincidence to me that Seth Godin's blog on Ash Wednesday this year was about changing how we approach unfair situations, asking if we go in "kicking and screaming" or "singing and dancing."

Over the past couple years, I've started thinking about Lent more in terms of a time to strengthen my relationship with God. As I reflected on Godin's words, it struck me that I never (okay, rarely) think about giving time and attention to people I love as a "downer." Instead, strengthening my human relationships is something that leaves me fuller and happier, both during and after. Why should strengthening my relationship to God be different?

If you are one of those who find Lent a downer (or maybe just someone looking for a new way to think about Lent), let me offer you this paraphrased food for thought:
"What if, instead, we went at it with singing and dancing? What if we walked into Lent determined to learn more, do more and contribute more than anyone had ever dreamed? What if we saw this break from the normal as an opportunity to grow or to invent or to find another path? ... It seems far better than the alternative."
Whatever path is before you, may God bless yours this Lenten season.

From the Gray,
Pastor Ari

“So tame my flesh and fix my eyes; a tethered mind freed from the lies.” -Mumford and Sons, “I Will Wait”

No comments:

Post a Comment