Thursday, January 24, 2008
Lent ----More Than the Stuff Caught in the Dryer Trap
When I was growing up, lent was the stuff you pulled out of the trap in the dryer after you removed a load of clothes. As thick as lent gets in the dryer trap, I have wondered at times whether it could be used to fill a quilt or a down jacket. If one got really desperate, could you make clothing out of lent? Anyway, I digress.
Once I became a United Methodist, Lent took on whole new meaning. Lent is a season of the Christian Year that begins on Ash Wednesday (in 2008, February 6) and ends on Easter Sunday. It is to be a time of spiritual reflection and renewal as we draw closer to God through the lessons, leadership, and love of Christ. Lent usually starts much later, but this year will be the earliest we celebrate Easter (March 23) for the next 150 years. What this means is, our Lenten reflections come sooner in 2008 as we seek to live as Easter people.
I am thinking about lent/Lent because we are planning for our Lenten observance at India Hook UMC. Lenten discipline involves looking into our own souls for those problems or obstacles that keep us from full fellowship with Christ. Often we hear about "giving something up" for Lent, like chocolate or cheeseburgers, and we may not know the reasons behind it. One reason, among the many, is that we replace the passion or the habit we have forsaken for a time of prayer or some other means of grace that draws us closer to Christ. As Easter approaches and by the grace and guidance of God, perhaps we have shed those things that have hindered us. At India Hook, I am asking people to use part of their Lenten observance and discipline to consider the use of our time and money in our personal and corporate lives and what their use (or abuse) reveals about our life in Christ. Hopefully, we will be led to live lives of better stewardship.
Maybe their is a connection to the lent in the dryer and the Lenten season after all. Just as lent is something we don't need on our clothes, perhaps Lent helps us see the things , habits, and thinking we don't need in our lives. May we all move closer to Christ.