Weekly Reflection, Friday, February 18
By: Kilpy Singer
This past week, someone asked me what I was planning on doing for Lent. The first words that jumped out of my mouth were “Oops!” followed by “Darn it.” This happens every year. After the Christmas season, I plan to come up with some thoughtful Lenten practice. Then, before I know it, Ash Wednesday is just around the corner. Well, so much for being intentional. Maybe next year.
I haven’t always done a Lenten practice. I grew up in a household that technically observed Lent, but we didn’t do anything other than normal, weekly church attendance. While I knew that some people gave things up for Lent, it seemed a little too pious for my liking.
At some point, some kind soul walked me through the origin and meaning of these practices. They shared that, when giving up an earthly practice or item, Christians are identifying with the 40 days that Jesus fasted in the wilderness. We remember that, just as God sustained him, so does God sustain us. In taking on a spiritual practice during this season, we open ourselves up to God’s presence and seek to walk closer with Christ in the journey toward Holy Week.
The most important thing I learned, though, was that Lent is not really our work to do. We are not the ones making our way toward God. Our practices cannot make us right with God, make us more desirable to God, or make God love us any more. Rather, Lent is about God’s work. It is about God’s action in our lives. God is drawing near to us and loving us unconditionally. We really can’t make that any more or less true. We can, however, tune into that reality more deeply, and this is exactly what our practices are for.
It doesn’t matter if, like me, you are late on deciding. Or maybe you’re just starting to learn about all of this for the first time. Just set aside a moment or two each day and keep it simple. That is enough for God to work with. All we need to do is practice tuning into God’s presence, and then we will start to glimpse His nearness to us and unconditional love for us.