This morning I am working from home as my children don’t have school today. I am searching around the house for dust. You would think that is pretty easy right?
I found some here and there (and started to dust after I took some pictures of it) then my daughter said “How about the fan?”. Yes the ceiling fan! That thing collects dust faster than anything else in the house! I climbed on a chair and sure enough – #dust.
I started to think about the act of dusting as I was cleaning off the ceiling fan. This is what Lent is about, getting rid of the dust in our lives purifying our hearts and remembering that we ourselves are dust.
For most of my life I have been told that we need to make a sacrifice for Lent. That we need to give something up. That we need to suffer like Jesus suffered. On my internship there was a woman in the choir who would give up chocolate for Lent. Every year. She LOVED chocolate. She would talk about this every Sunday as she came in. She would tell us how well she was doing and how much she missed chocolate. Then on Easter Sunday before the last hymn was sung she would get out chocolate from her purse and start eating away.
She said it was okay because Jesus was already raised from the dead once communion was over.
So if Lent is not about self denial, if it is not about sacrifice if it is not about suffering like Jesus suffered then what is the point of Lent?
Lent can be, and is about creating our identity as a disciple, it is reflecting, learning and living like Jesus wants us to live, it is about understanding truly understanding what the death, resurrection, and ascension means to us — right here and right now.
But the reality is Ash Wednesday — the seasons of Lent in general lost it’s importance, in part because as a church we have something where we tell people, “to get closer to God this season you have to give something up, you have to sacrifice, instead of cleaning out the dust in our lives in order to find life, instead of living as our best self.”
The goal of Lent is not to get through it. It is not to give something up that you dearly love and then use that to somehow grow in relationship with God and the people around you. Lent is a time to think about our spirituality. To think about what God is calling us to do. It means to pray about taking on something to improve our life. Or it means giving something up, to get rid of the extra noise in our lives so we can hear the voice of God.
For myself, this lent it means to continue to transform. The beginning of the year I picked a word for myself. My decisions this year relate to that word and that word is Transformation. I am transforming the way I go about doing things in my life. I am transforming what I eat, and how much I exercise. I am transforming the way I preach and teach, to how my family interacts with one another. I am looking into my life and I am going to pray about how I can transform my life and the lives of the people around me.
Every Sunday in Lent I am thinking about the promises that God has made to us. I will be looking at the covenants that God has made throughout the years, including today and how they impact our lives. How they can transform our lives.
Transformation does not mean that we need to give up or sacrifice, it does not mean that we need to look at the inadequacies in our lives. Lent doesn’t mean we have to look down upon ourselves or give up the things that we enjoy. What it does mean is that we can embrace the things that really matter to us, we can build up our relationships with God and with one another.
So how do we do this? That is the key question isn’t it?
The best way I know how to turn Lent around, to really live into the reality of joy, the reality that God is with us, the reality of building up our relationship with God and with the other people in our lives.
This means participating in what our communities have to offer. This means going to church on a Sunday and hearing the covenants that God has made with us, the promises to love us and to be with us. This means to gather on a midweek night and fellowship together and worship together. Because in doing this we are reminded of the love that God has for us, and we are reminded that we have a community that loves and supports us in all that we with and for one another.
This is what #dust has reminded me this is what Lent means to me.