Tuesday, January 29, 2013
The People's Warden Offers His Thoughts, Reflections and Questions on Lent
During a discussion with Richard [the social media coordinator at SPC], I offered in a moment of light-hearted fun to write a short reflection on Lent, through the eyes of a Church Warden. When it eventually struck me that he had taken me at my word, I began to ponder: what exactly is Lent? And why should I write about it? I have no theological education beyond what little I absorb from sermons and Bible studies. I see my “call” at St-Philip’s as ensuring that burned out light bulbs get replaced – very necessary, but not in any way spiritual. Still, even if it was a moment of light jest and perhaps weakness, I did promise. Therefore, I ponder, and the question is deep: What is Lent to me? What should it be?
I have discussed this with friends gathered about Church coffee urns everywhere. One friend forgoes chocolate during Lent; another, coffee; yet another, alcohol. These are three friends, among many, who impress me and inspire me to confront my own comparatively anemic faith journey. I confront, and I despair! Who am I to make such a wonderful gesture to our Lord? I say nasty things to people who love me. I let down people who trust me to protect them. I don’t even get the light bulbs changed very well. How in the world can I make a holy gesture before God for Lent, and not feel like a complete fake? I imagine the whispers: “Who is he trying to kid?”
So I come to God, with nothing but these fears and failures on my lips. “Lord, what would you have from me?” God hasn’t answered – at least not in any concrete way that I can identify. Maybe he expects me to try something – to make a suggestion. Great… With no credibility whatsoever then, I begin to ponder Lent, and whether and how I might observe it this year. What if instead of giving up something I enjoy, I were to get up early each day and read my Bible? What if I were to write each day a list of things I am sorry for, and ask God, and perhaps some of you, for forgiveness?
These feel like commitments that would be good for my own faith journey. Perhaps I will try some of them. What I will do for sure though, and more each year, is to contemplate Lent, a Church season fraught with significance, and how it applies to me. Where do I stand with my Lord? What would I like to change? What would God like me to change? All questions, no answers, but questions I will wrestle with. Perhaps God will touch me, as he did Jacob, and even break me, but what if I then emerge a bit more in tune with my own faith and religion? It’s terrifying, but I want it. May I be touched by God this Lent.