Contemplating Lent

Contemplating Lent

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Something about the liturgical seasons bring me into contemplation and make my pen long for paper.  In this Garden season of planting seeds, tending, waiting, watching and expecting, Lent, literally meaning Spring, I focus my attention on the church calendar’s observation of Lent–a season of a 40-day focus on Jesus’ coming, suffering, and dying for us.  During this time I have chosen to fast from certain foods (including sugar), from excessive screen time (tv, phone surfing, etc.), and from a life of distraction and distance from God.

Two days ago I was questioning the relevance of fasting from foods during Lent, likely with the intention of a justification for modifying my commitment.  “Shrove Tuesday” (another name for Mardi Gras) is intended to precede our Lenten fasts.  It’s a time to clear out our pantries of sugar and sweets and the things we’re likely to be fasting from beginning Ash Wednesday–the first day of Lent.  Apparently, I did not adequately ‘shrive’ my pantry and I found myself drooling over the pecan sticky bun on my counter on this, my first day of fasting from sugar.  Yikes!  And, so, seriously, unlike myself, I “woke up” after a pounce upon the prey, and a quick devour, with dripped pecan pieces on my sweater and a cat-that-just-ate-the-canary expression when my husband walked through the door a little while later.  Yes, I confessed…after a few hours…and started the fast again.

How does this relate to Lent?

Humankind’s journey toward this Lenten season began with a Garden of planting seeds, tending, waiting, watching, and expecting and with eating something that was not good for us.  Genesis relates that Adam and Eve were invited to eat every tree in Eden except one–the tree of the Knowledge Of Good And Evil–I call it the KOGAE tree.  But when Eve saw the fruit from this one tree that was to be avoided, fasted from, she pounced on and devoured it and then suggested Adam do the same.  They both had metaphorical pecan drippings all over their ‘sweaters’ when God walked up, and their cat-that-ate-the-canary expression started it all.

In this season of life, I have a new lens for contemplating everything.  Four days a week I have the privilege of helping to watch my two precious grandchildren–ages 1 1/2 and 3 1/2.  Now, my grandkids love sugar and sweets about as much as their Grandma does (please, no judgement!), and it’s hard not to pull out the goods just to be in the bask of the delight in their eyes and the baited breath of expectation when I offer them some.  But, discipline says, reason says, health says, this cannot be all that I eat, nor all that they eat.

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And so, the other day, when I found my little grandchild with her hand literally in the sugar jar, crystals all over her cheeks, and a cat-that-ate-the-canary look on her face–it helped me connect more dots, and take these 40 days of Lent to pray:

Thank you, kind Father,
Gardener, Provider, and Caregiver,
all-knowing Creator,
for making a way, through Jesus’ life, suffering and death,
His own 40-day fast from food,
to erase the pecan drippings off my sweater,
the white crystals off my granddaughter’s cheeks,
and the “KOGAE” crumbs from Adam and Eve,
and from all of humankind.
Amen

 

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