Sojourning With Our Savior
We ache deep within to meaningfully honor Christ’s resurrection on Easter morning. Yet, in practice, this focal point in the liturgical calendar is often a celebration of public holiday more than it is of humanity’s hope. We fall asleep well fed and perhaps even grateful, yet still somehow something short of awed. Inspired by the church’s ancient tradition of Lent, we then add discipline to the celebration, voluntarily adopting temporary discomfort to self with the intention of bringing to mind the discomfort of the cross. And still, our twenty-first century discomfort remains mild and our first-century remembrance remains meager.
In our self-indulgent age, any fasting is to be commended. But since commendation cannot be confused with preparation, I must ask: can fasting designer coffee, carbs, or social media alone prepare us to live awed by Christ’s resurrection?
Faith, in general, is less about the sacrifice of stuff and more about the surrender of our souls. Lent, in kind, is less about well-mannered denials and more about thinning our lives in order to thicken our communion with God.
Decrease is only holy when its destination is love.
Today’s Fast: Lent As Project
Lent is often, and understandably, described with project language. The season has a starting date, an ending date, and clear, quantifiable goals “to accomplish” in between. After Easter, consequently, we evaluate Lent with project language. We “did okay” or “only made it two weeks” or “kept our commitment” or “totally failed.”
Whether engaging this experience prior to Easter, or at another time during the year, from day one, I invite you to consider Lent as less of a project and more of a sojourn. A sojourn is a “temporary stay at a place.” And a “stay” is about presence, not productivity. Invest your energy in seeking to remain present to the sacred history of Jesus’ walk to the cross. Observe Jesus’ response to John’s death. Imagine yourself as one of the disciples trying in vain to hush blind Bartimaeus. Throw your only cloak under the hooves of Jesus’ colt as He enters Jerusalem. Taste the mounting tension as Jesus offends leaders with parables. Hear Jesus predict Peter’s denial.
Fast Lent as project and enter Lent as experience, as a sojourn with your Savior.