Subtraction By Addition ➖➤➕
During Lent we are journeying with Jesus: a triumphant entry, his death, burial and ultimately his resurrection. Like so many non-orthodox Christians, my view of Lent has been tarnished by evangelical teachings claiming that the time leading up to paschal season is not really all that relative; Lent is not found in the New Testament; that it is dogmatic. It’s true, the Lenten period is not biblical; it can often seem like an empty ritual; it can be misunderstood as a season to earn God’s favor by good intentions or good works (this thinking is a theological problem for a later discussion). The 40 days of Lent is usually associated with “giving something up” – luxuries like meat, sugar, or social media. It’s almost like a New Years Resolution reboot - I didn’t accomplish something in January, so now I’ll try again, but with a spiritual spin.
Lent offers us so much more than a redo or abstention. The forty days between Ash Wednesday and Easter [not including Sundays] affords us space for reflection, for worship and for purposeful prayer, prayer beyond my needs, rather prayer that asks ‘what’s your will’ Father? Aaron Damiani wrote: “… I learned that observing Lent is not a forced march of works-righteousness. But it was good medicine for [my soul] …”
As we make our way towards Easter consider adding something versus taking a thing away; consider 10 minutes of worship in His presence; consider embracing Lent as an opportunity for self-awareness, spiritual growth, not about what we are giving up, but what we are willing to receive because the Spirit has opened our eyes. Sometimes we need more of something during, not less.