Wednesday, March 23, 2011

lent: week two.

"So, is this like a spiritual thing, or is this really more of a diet thing?" 

It was a fair enough question, but I was a little bit startled when she asked. 

The truth is, in my heart, I want this to be spiritual. I want the sacrifice I'm making to remind me of my weakness and His strength, of my failure and His grace.

But almost every day, I'm asking myself another form of that same question, which basically boils down to: Am I even doing this right? 

I think I've mentioned it here before, but it's probably worth mentioning again: My community of faith doesn't actively practice Lent, or really adhere to the church calendar in general. Lent is something I practiced on my own for a few years, and is now something Jordan and I practice together. I wonder, though, if what I seem to be missing from my Lenten journey is community. I pore over blog posts about Lent (you can check out some of my favorites here, here, and here), and I anxiously await your comments in hopes that I am not the only one just muddling through. But I don't gather with other believers on a weekly basis, hearing about their Lenten journey, sharing what they've learned in their years of practice, and I wonder if that's maybe the missing piece to my puzzle, if maybe weekly community with other Lent practitioners would help me "get it" more.

Basically, I want you to know: I have not a clue what I'm doing. All I know is that it's hard some days, and easier on others. I guess, yes, from the outside, this probably looks like a dietary practice. I'm trying to eat more healthily, trying to focus on putting good things into my body instead of bad. But in this act of sacrifice, I'm also trying to draw closer to the One who made me. I don't necessarily "feel" that closeness every day as I forgo Cokes and cookies. But I really, truly hope (and have to believe) that my Father is looking down on me, smiling at my feeble attempts to please Him.

{Random plug: I don't mention my church often on the blog, but I just have to share this past Sunday's sermon with you. Seriously, one of the best I've ever heard. Just click below to listen.}


Sugar Mama said...

My husband grew up Church of Christ. We are both non-denominational now... but just felt like I'd throw out that random fact about a man you don't know. ;o) And with Lent, I have never observed it and know very little about it. I guess I've always been confused about certain things people "give up" because i always thought the purpose was to draw nearer to God. I'm checking out the links you shared... thanks!

Brittany said...

I totally agree with the comment above. I've failed at part of my Lent goal already. Daniel and I are also non-denominational now. But growing up CoC also, I never knew about Lent until just a few (maybe even couple) years ago. I feel like the whole importance of Lent is to draw nearer to God also. The time I've spent doing certain things could have been used to read my Bible more or just pray.

Jessica said...

whatever that is in the picture looks delicious. did you make it? will you share the recipe? i look forward to listening to that sermon when i get a chance. i'm going to share it with matthew too.

Elizabeth Dean said...

Agreed- last Sunday's message was amazing.

Also, remember that Lent was originally about this idea that there was you and there was God. You tried to draw a line to connect you and God but things popped up in the way making the line (or walk) difficult. Lent was a time to try to purposefully remove the road blocks between you and God so that the line got more direct. For most people, especially Catholic people, things they usually gave up were sex and alcohol, as well as shopping. Giving up food is a newer trend (newer being relative, I think 200 years is new in the Catholic church's 1700 year long history) designed to perhaps be more of a populist idea. Everyone could give up some kinds of food. Only elitists could give up expensive things like alcohol and new clothes. People still, as couples, try to give up sex.

You're doing great. God always sees sincerity and smiles.

Stephanie said...

I grew up in a Methodist Denomination and the Lenten season was pretty big in my Church. Anyways the pastor at my church has a blog where he posts his sermons every week. This season of Lent he is focusing on Spiritual applications. One of these being fasting. I know you aren't fasting, but maybe some of the reasonings why some people fast and others don't could help you understand why people give up things for lent. Here's his blog, check it out, I hope it helps you :)