Over the past few years, I’ve grown increasingly annoyed with the penitential seasons of the Church. I just don’t get Advent and last year, I gave up Lent for Lent. With Ash Wednesday just around the corner, I’ve spent some time over the past week or so thinking about Lent this year. Ever since The 7 Experiment’s week of fasting from media, I’ve found myself, more often than not, riding in the car without the radio on. Naturally, then I’ve been thinking about the season in which traditionally, we give things up that take our attention away from God’s saving work in our lives. As I drove to a VTS alumni lunch over in Pensacola last Thursday, I gave the first real thought on my Lent 1 sermon this year, and these words came to mind, “I love Lent.”
I love Lent!?!
This can’t be true. My subconscious mind is playing tricks on me in the silence of a hour long car ride. The more I pressed myself, however, the more I realized that I might, in fact, like Lent this year. Maybe it is because by the time Lent rolls around, the hardest parts of The 7 Experiment will be over. Maybe I won’t feel guilty about not giving anything up this year because my life has already been dramatically rearranged by this crazy book. Maybe I’m already more in tune with God’s calling me toward Kingdom living than I have been in years past. Or Maybe Lent is starting late enough and coupled with Daylight Savings Time, so the season of penitence won’t be couple with miserable weather and 6pm darkness. Whatever it is, I find myself with the strange feeling of looking forward to Lent this year.
Maybe you are too. Or perhaps you haven’t given it any thought yet. With parades running almost non-stop today and tomorrow, I can understand that, but by the time you’ve gobbled down your pancakes and buried your alleluias tomorrow night, I hope you will have taken a minute to think about what Lent will be for you this year.