To live content with small means; to seek elegance rather than luxury, and refinement rather than fashion; to be worthy, not respectable, and wealthy, not, rich; to listen to stars and birds, babes and sages, with open heart; to study hard; to think quietly, act frankly, talk gently, await occasions, hurry never; in a word, to let the spiritual, unbidden and unconscious, grow up through the common--this is my symphony.
~William Henry Channing

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Tis the Season

We have a friend who shaved his head.
Another is giving up facebook.
One is contemplating a no blogging fast.
No, not the stuff in your dryer or found in belly buttons, rather the season of Lent. Growing up in traditional Southern Baptist churches all I knew of Lent was that is was some weird thing that Catholics did to show how sorry they were for the way they lived the rest of the year. My ignorance was only exceeded by my arrogance in the disdainful way I viewed something I knew nothing of.
Thankfully, I know enough now to know that really isn't what Lent is about. It's still a time on the Church calendar that I am woefully lacking in true understanding but this year I have more people in my life that practice it so my knowledge is expanding. It's something that Rob and I have begun to talk through and I have a feeling it may come to mean more to us in the future. For now, it is an area that we're discovering and learning about and I like what I see.
Here's a quote from Christine over at Homemade in China that kind of sums up the purpose of Lent if one could do that in a few words.
"And that is what Lent is, a time to reckon with the reality of darkness and death. We do so with hope, because this season of darkness ends in Easter, in resurrection, in new life. But we can be raised to new life only if we have first died to the old one. That is the challenge-- and the gift-- of Lent."
 My friend Lori is also new to the season of Lent but she wrote a very helpful post about it on her blog, Semper Fidelis Family.
Basically, Lent is a time of preparation for Easter. It's considered a time of darkness as we dwell on our need for a Savior and, to put it as articulately as Christine did, contemplate that "the Light is going out of the world shrouded by the cross beams of a tree."
So is Lent necessary? Is it even Biblical? Is God pleased by it? I'm guessing you'd get different answers depending on who you ask. The more I learn about it the more beautiful the time becomes. To deliberately focus our mind and thoughts outside of ourselves, to focus on the death of Christ and the need for a Savior...that can only be a good thing.
Lent, I'm learning, is a spiritual practice or discipline that God will use to grow us up in maturity and faith.
I'm really looking forward to learning more.
Thoughts? Do you practice Lent? Why or why not?


Rob H said...

George Grant talks of time and the liturgical calendar.