About Lent…

The first day after Ash Wednesday. Here is where I begin to practice my commitments to deny myself small pleasures, ingrained coping strategies and lesser habits in order to honor the gargantuan sacrifice Jesus made for me. It’s not that I am paying him back or earning his favor as a result of my actions, it’s more like acknowledging that one love calls out to another, echoing reciprocal acts of sacrifice. The season gives time and opportunity for Jesus story to slow simmer and offers me the opportunity to reprogram life rhythms through repeated practice. Every time I say no to my defaults, I make space for something else. Something better, something more true. 

In Lent, submission becomes palatable because the misappropriated definition focusing on power and authority structures is dethroned by Jesus human story. Single verses of scripture are contextualized in the gospel narrative where submission is top down instead of bottom up. Jesus is first to pay it forward. It starts with the King of the Hill and trickles down so we all have a model to follow as we replicate His example toward one another. And that is a lifelong training exercise.

Last night, I missed that gritty sensation of pasty ashes smearing across my lined forehead in the form of the cross. The words spoken over me that, “From dust I came and to dust I will return.” I entered this world under the curse of death and I will leave it that way too. Inside my mother’s womb and 6 feet under—they’re both as dark as the church was last night, sleety ice raining down from the heavens. 

But that is not the whole story. The Lenten season is not a circular path. Where we commence forty days before Easter is not our concluding destination. Death is a temporary word. Resurrection is the eternal word.

And so my spectator’s journey to the cross and beyond begins. Again. Another year to ponder the conundrum of death and resurrection, God’s redemptive plan of choice, and to practice cruciform living, one decision, one discipline, one day at a time. 
And for the privilege and opportunity to follow where He leads, I’m grateful.

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