when lent gets in the way
lent is a little tough for me.
it can seem like a further cementing of the basic misunderstanding of god’s heart for relationship.
that misunderstanding goes like this:
if you give up the things you really like and settle for a life where you’re always wishing you were doing other things, denying yourself and being bored out of your skull – well then do i have the religion for you!
the big secret of friendship with god is the failure of keeping the forty days.
the lent worth paying attention to is the one that points out how i can’t pull myself up by the bootstraps and give up the things that are killing me. the lent that matters is the one that brings sin into the forefront, not spiritual perfection.
because without sin folks, there’s no need for good friday.
on our dining room table we have a basket it’s filled with construction paper cut into squares and there’s a red pen in there, too. a few of the papers have been folded up tight, hiding what’s been written upon them, secrets to god.
we count sins during lent because we want there to be a reason to celebrate on easter morning.
if this basket is empty come good friday, if i’ve given up my vices and kept my soul in check with nary an error – then jesus up on that cross is little more than an icon. he’s an idea of necessary element to the human experience at best.
but is he a savior? a real life someone who tells the truth of my human condition and gives me a way out through love i can’t comprehend?
it doesn’t seem so to me.
not if i’m fine, not if i’m able to muster up a lent once a year to prove i can do it just fine on my own.
i need a lent that points out what i can’t do, not what i can.
so i uncap the pen and i sit and i think of what i’ve done, of what i’ve said. i write down the secret thoughts i haven’t spoken out loud. i write a letter to the only one able to write back and look forward to easter sunday.