The whole creation waits breathless with anticipation for the revelation of God’s sons and daughters.
I’ve been anticipating today for a couple weeks now. I keep thinking … when Mar. 5th gets here … then I’ll do so many things.
Well, the day arrived. What is special about today? It’s not a holiday, it’s not my birthday. It’s just a regular, ordinary day. But not quite. It’s Ash Wednesday.
The last several years, I have come to relish Ash Wednesday and Lent. Yes, I usually have more things to “do” during Lent. On the flip side, it’s also a time when as a Christian, I AM to be more reflective, more purposeful, more deliberate about what I do and how I spend my time. I’m to be this way not because I am a pastor. I’m to be this way because it’s part of the great tradition of the Christian Church.
During Lent, I usually eat differently (no sweets!), spend less time on those mindless things like computer games and roaming the internet. A few months ago, I downloaded Scrabble onto my phone. While I try to tell myself that playing Scrabble is good for my mind, I also know there are times I play a game rather than doing something more productive. I got one last game in late last night. No more searching for the triple letter spot when I have the Z until after Easter. Of course, I played Scrabble right after I had one last bowl of ice cream, which I also won’t have for another six weeks.
I didn’t realize how much I was anticipating Lent until this morning. As I woke up, I realized, “The day is here. It’s Ash Wednesday. Today’s the day I choose not to do certain things.”
Why do I stop doing certain things during Lent? The canned answer is focus on my relationship with God. Realistically, I know this time can easy get sucked up with some other task and I still won’t spend time with God. But at least for today, I anticipate having more time to just be with God.
What is my desire this Lent? To breath more. To slow down. To put energy into the things I never think I have time for. To write and reflect more. To just be. I know there will be busy days during Lent. Proof – it’s after Ash Wednesday worship before I’m getting this written! But I am excited about the anticipation of a different rhythm this Lent. I also know it will only happen IF I decide to make it happen.
What are you anticipating these days? What does your heart yearn for?
Somehow, Lord God, you knew that people like me who choose to have overflowing commitments need times of the year to focus less on me and more on you. Thank you for the gift of Lent. I pray that I keep this anticipation, this desire to fill myself more with you these next 40 days. When I want to slide back and do those things I’m choosing to stop doing, giving me the strength to come to you instead. Amen.
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