why lent?

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my husband and i reflect often that these are the

“weary years”

we both work

we have four children

two are teenagers

we own two homes

not selling the home we do not live in means we can not accomplish what we desire in the home that we do

working  parents, every week day, come that  witching hour of 5pm, have been upright and doing for 11 hours

now we must rev up for the next four hour job

rev up, when mentally, physically, emotionally we naturally should be winding down

it seems like harsh unfairness

but it is life:

ergo, i love wine

 

declaring, “man i need a drink”

is politically incorrect in evangelical christian circles

but i do

and the grace of the Christ covenant is this:

He reigns in authority in all spheres in my life including relaxation and pleasure and use of stimulates

now there is always the tension between holiness and grace but i rest in the reality that since i willingly bow my entire life to Christ I can trust being led by His Spirit in how to walk out my daily life

i feel no grievance of the holy spirit for drinking wine,

for declaring,

“man, i need a drink”

what does this have to do with lent?

i gave up wine for lent

not because wine is bad

rather,

i desire to deny what i have a natural right to, so as to make myself that much more dependent on Christ-my strong man- to do what i cannot do very well,  in my flesh

for me, my flesh is weak at the end of the day

i have been upright and doing for 11 hours

my family has to be fed

my dog has to be walked

our family is together under one roof

my inner man has to preform the balancing trick of relaxing just a bit, so as to charge up to keep working

because that witching hour of 5pm:

it is the starting gun BANG!

it is ringing out now is the start of the few hours in which we as a family can simply be and do life together

they matter enormously 

these are the few hours my school-aged children are

at my fingertips,

under my feet,

asking me questions,

pushing my buttons,

need to be corrected,

need to be listened to,

need the kindness and grace of Christ modeled,

need the righteousness and authority of Christ modeled

need to be told “get over it, the world does not revolve around you”

need to be told ” don’t listen to those lies, you are loved and matter”

these are the fleeting hours of the day where my mate and i can talk and laugh and discuss and co-labor for our beloved children, in our beloved home, together

and yet,

i am weary

i want to order dinner, flop down, put my feet up, and read a book till the girls need to go to bed

but of course i cannot and i feel bad for wishing so

being caught in these late-in-day-cross-hairs every single day seems

harsh

unfair

impossible

and demoralizing

all at the same time

so let me repeat:

“ergo, i love wine”

wine biologically floods the weary chaos with a deep lungful-breath of well-deserved relaxation that energizes me enough to switch gears, to end my day well

however, believers for the last two millenniums have observed lent because life in the kingdom of Christ now has us walking a life that is a spiritual battle, in addition to the everyday, common to man, stress of relationships and finances

confession:

since ash wednesday i have not been pleasant to be around come 5pm

i guess i am not as uber spiritual as i think i am, eh?

i have questioned, constantly these last 10 days:

“why am i doing this?”

“what is the point since after lent i will go back to drinking”

then i remember Christ’s 40 days in the wilderness to be tested in matthew 3:

He was recently given public supernatural approval of  being “beloved, the Son of God, and well pleasing” in matthew 2

He did not suffer those 40 days to become better

He suffered those 40 days to crystallize where the real battles lines are drawn:

satan assaulted Him with half truths about what was the purpose of the kingdom, the new Kingdom that Christ had been charged by The Father, to bring in

those 40 days of lowly weakness were refining fire to bring forth the good glory of God that Christ already possessed inside of Himself, through authority

how much more do we, his “peculiar people” and “sojourning strangers”, need to be refined so as to bring forth the good glory of God’s kingdom that we possess inside of ourselves, through grace

why lent?

sleepy, dulled-over eyes needs be perpetually made open and sharp

soft, weak, pampered flesh needs be hardened and strengthened by breaking the inner man fibers through a process that is uncomfortable

i practice lent NOT to prove some theological point, achieve some spiritual special-ness to boast of

i do lent to keep humble

to stay wise

to the hills

**********************************************************

This is my longest post by far since getting back into posting once a week.

But Lent is vague and confusing for lots of people; both for evangelicals and the non-religious.

Most assume with a shrug, “it’s like a Catholic thing, right”?

I was one of those until a few years ago.

I really wanted to skip Lent this year, but I kept being drawn to it.  So I did what I always do when uncertain how to proceed, and spent purposeful time praying about it. Because one thing I DID KNOW for certain, I did not want to do it out of performance or duty or superiority.

This long post is my attempt to answer the question of why? Why I, or anyone else, would bother in the first place.

Cheers.

 

 

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