Saturday, March 12, 2005

lenten failure

As a recovering southern baptist I have come late to the table when it comes to things like Lent, but I think it is beautiful. I don't have the background to speak to it as well as some others I have read (like here and here and here), but for the last four years I have taken feeble steps toward participating in this part of historic Christianity. What have I learned? I suck at it.

I am now a four-time Lenten loser. What I am amazed by is the casualness with which I ultimately give it up. An opportunity comes along, I'm not thinking about it and suddenly another one bites the dust. Which leads me to think that there is something stong within the idea of Lent about the frailty of my will to accomplish anything on its own. I give something up, but tend to not look to Jesus to provide sustenance in its place. I'm amazed at what a little legalist I can become. The whole thing is about keeping FROM something rather than moving TOWARD Jesus. And I blow it every time.

I don't know that failure is a part of the Lenten tradition, but it has become part of mine. Not like a Catholic friend in college who would intentionally choose something impossible to give up so that he could blow it early and get it done with, but more as a reminder of the impossibility of living my life in a Godward direction without the life of Jesus inside.

Starting over (again)


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