Lent is coming. I have been trying to decide what I plan on giving up for weeks now. Most people don't even celebrate lent, but for me lent has become the ultimate symbol of waiting and patience. Getting to Easter Sunday has become an incredible journey these last few years. (Please see the labels to read about those journeys. I am not savvy enough to do one of those highlighted links here.) The season of lent, which leads us into Holy Week and finally Easter Sunday, has always been important given that I grew up in a liturgical church that puts emphasis on spiritual discipline, such as fasting, confession, weekly celebration of the Eucharist, incense, sanctus's sang at every service, and on, and on, and on.
I am not Catholic. I'm Episcopalian. Lately Anglican. But it really, honestly, does not matter the category.
The point is, I'm Christian, and in my particular upbringing the religious seasons were to be practiced using set disciplines.
Lent was the time of sacrifice in order to taste just slightly the way Christ felt in sacrificing himself for us. By giving up something we love, we are constantly reminded of Christ. Some people give up meat, chocolate, facebook, etc. Others instead feel compelled to add a discipline to their day, such as daily devotionals or exercise.
So, given this knowledge, every year growing up, I gave up the same thing. Brussels sprouts. Lent was always a thorn in a kid's year. So, we came up with more useful ways to celebrate Christ's sacrifice by giving up foods we despised. Then we would quite righteously announce we could not eat said Brussels sprouts because we were using them to contemplate Christ's sacrifice for us. We thought we were brilliant.
Now I'm a grown up. And I'm torturing my kids with Lent. But in all seriousness, by practicing this discipline as a child, however halfheartedly, I find myself deeply moved when practicing these disciplines as an adult. I have even found myself mentally preparing for Lent way before it starts. I prepare myself for the discipline of patience, for the journey. The last two years I have made a Station of the Cross (#5 and #8). This year I do not feel a strong pull to make another one. So then what? This year, I have decided to step out of my comfort zone, and write for forty days, on here, and post my ramblings on facebook. Some days may be short, but I will attempt to post something spiritual, whether it be about my Lenten journey, or a hymn I love, or a Bible verse, each day, six days a week, starting on Ash Wednesday. I am stating this to give myself some accountability. Please feel free to join me. I'd love the company.