April 11, 2019

The Problem with Lent

The problem with the good news that comes at the end of Lent is that it comes at the very end of Lent.  Easter is coming, but it isn’t here yet. 

I have a contemplative friend who lives right on Lake Waccamaw. Her home was inundated by the flood waters of Hurricane Florence and has been uninhabitable for months. I asked her recently when she might be able to move back in. She said, “The contractor is saying Easter.” Chuckling, she said, “I know Easter is coming, I’m just not sure when!”  In Philippians 3:12, Paul expressed it this way, “Not that I have already obtained this or have already reached the goal; but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.” 

How might we live in the midst of all the “stuff” of life while holding onto the reality of Easter?  My oldest son Seth came up with his own solution when he entered preschool. Seth was my blanket child. He carried Blankiearound most of the time, but we kept Blankie at home when Seth went to school. His blanket was well-worn by the time he entered preschool, but in the weeks following, I noticed it seemed to be shrinking at an alarming rate.

As the parent of two sons, I learned early on to always check their pant pockets before washing them. You learn that fast when crayons destroy dress shirts, and stones, sticks, leaves and God-only-knows what else got baptized with the wash.

At the same time that Blankiewas shrinking, I noticed that Seth had more fluff in his pockets. At first, I thought it was just lint. Then I realized that he was taking a little bit of Blankiewith him to school each day in his pocket.  All he needed to be reminded of home and security was to put his hand in his pocket and feel the fluff.

Paul’s belief in resurrection was the hope he carried with him through all the struggles and challenges that he faced. It was that hope that helped him to press on. It was the touchstone, the reminder, the fluff, the Blankie that he held onto.

What is yours? Make some space in today to sit quietly. Get settled back into your chair as you slow your breathing. Allow the Spirit to remind you of what thoughts or feelings or images sustain you as you press on toward Easter through the Lenten seasons in life. You might want to take a slip of paper, and write a few words about what comes to mind, and then carry it in your pocket this week.

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