but Lent, preparation for Easter, no.
So I've set out to learn all I can from a number of faith traditions.
A few years ago I read A Place at the Table: 40 Days of Solidarity with the Poor by Chris Seay during the Lenten season. This opened up another quest to learn more about fasting. So for 2016 I find myself craving a season of preparation and fasting yet I am also entering it with fear. and a heaviness. Fasting doesn't come easy. That's the point. Like I tell my children (in an attempt to remind myself), if I'm fasting from something that's easy, then I'm not really fasting for the right purpose. Breaking the chains that distract and weigh us down is never straight-forward and sudden but it's time.
I like how Seay puts it:
"Holy Week and Easter are so important to our faith journey that if we encounter them without taking the time to prepare, we risk not grasping the fullness of god's love and grace. our hearts, minds, and yes, even our bodies need a time of preparation to lead us joyously to the feast, reluctantly to Gethsemane, solemnly to the cross, and jubilantly to the empty tomb."
So today, our family will together begin a 40 day journey of Lent, focusing on being transformed into Christ-likeness and solidarity with the vulnerable. We are using our Advent-turned-Lent visual reminder of the days ahead and the event we will celebrate at the end. The plan is to take turns presenting the information in the daily readings and I look forward to the individual perspectives we will bring to this topic.
"The world will not be changed when we ascend to power. God's kingdom will not be furthered because an evangelical Christian resides in the White House or the highest court in the land. God changes the world through humility and service. It is a subversive tactic, yet highly effective... The primary reason why we struggle so deeply to be transformed into the character of Christ is likely because so often instead of living with humility and vulnerability, we are busy chasing power and prestige." (Seay)
As Shane Claiborne has been known to say (in multiple ways): We can better win the world with fascination than by force.
Here's to 40 days of becoming more fascinating...