Lent

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It is my temptation to ask, “God, what are you doing? Why did you bring me here? Where are you leading me? Please, just tell me the plan.”

Oh, yes, the plan. I worship the map god of my iphone. I tell it where I want to go and it takes me there. And it tells me how long the trip will take.  But you don’t ask me where I want to go. You ask, What is it that you seek? What do you want? 

The truth is, I often seek distraction. I scroll for miles and miles until my head is full of dust and my thumbs have blisters.

Look up. What do you seek?

I walked outside my somewhat dumpy apartment to take out the trash last week and I noticed some of the most beautiful flowers. Bright pink blossoms against the backdrop of peeling paint.

Open your eyes. What do you want to see?

It’s lent again. This time in the church calendar has become one of my favorites It gives me permission to not pretend I have it all together. It provides a space for lament and grief. And at the same time it reminds me to evaluate what I want. It’s a compass pointing me back to the cross, asking if i believe in the resurrection.

The threads of death have woven their way into my story. All of our stories. The thing I love about lent is that it recognizes the pain and in the same breath lent asks,

Do you believe in the resurrection?

I stopped giving up things for lent several years ago. Apparently I’m not that strong or dedicated to the whole practice, But isn’t that sort of the point? Knowing that I don’t even have enough self control for forty days reminds me how desperate I am for a reorientation of my heart towards the things of God.

A few weeks in to lent and the questions I hear are, Is my presence enough for you? Is that something you want? Or would I prefer my map god? My safe answers god? My tell-me-exactly-how-long-it-will-take-to-get-there-god? My comfort and efficiency god?

There is a butterfly at the flowers by the trashcans and the peeling paint and I ask myself, Do you believe in the resurrection?