Tuesday, February 05, 2008

My Lenten Journey

Thinking back over the years I am amazed to see how God has used the season of Lent in my life, even though my observance of it has been mostly as a bystander:

  • I observed smudges on people’s foreheads, and in ignorance pointed them out! Oops. (They were merely Ash Wednesday ashes.)
  • I observed friends declaring what they were giving up for Lent. And felt a sense of secret chagrin that for that many weeks, I couldn’t share home-baked treats or lattes with them, not wanting to offend or tempt them.
  • I observed my own sense of self-righteousness, sometimes proclaiming almost proudly that I didn’t observe Lent. Didn’t need to.
  • I observed a personal lack of understanding of the biblical practice of fasting. I felt God challenge me to privately “give up” something as a reminder to pray for my friends during this season.
  • I observed God at work in my heart, asking me to be open to seeing things afresh, stripped of preconceived notions about how things should look.
  • I observed others observing Lent – not merely as a meaningless ritual or requirement for righteousness but as a season of letting go in order to grasp more tightly to things of God.
  • I observed a growing curiosity about this tradition that is not specifically mentioned in the Bible and yet contains so many biblical elements.

Lent for me has been a strange but beautiful journey over the past fourteen years, one I didn’t even realize I was on. But for these reasons and more, I’m excited to embrace it more fully this year, and all that God has to teach me through it.


Katrina said...

Thanks for sharing this Dianne. I've shared many of the steps along your journey and have personally experienced Lent going from a mysterious ritual that our church "just didn't do" to something worthy of more thought and consideration.

Jennifer, Snapshot said...

This is a thoughtful post.

A Bible study leader recently suggested adding something for lent--not giving something up--and not doing it for 40 days but forever. For example--more time with God, encourage someone daily, etc etc. I thought it was pretty good stuff.

Suzanne Eller said...

I like this post. And thanks for adding my book to your amazon list. : )