Anticipation

these 40 days.docxMar. 5, 2014

Romans 8:19

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.

Blessings –

Dianne

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3 Replies to “Anticipation”

  1. I have never really fasted and would like some thoughts and direction about this. I want to fast during lent and would like to do it the right way. I know you have done it for years. I am giving up facebook this year except for a cheat day to post for my sister’s bday this month.

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    >

    1. Pam – There are many different ways to fast. What is most important is to pick a way that makes sense to you, is possible for you and will have meaning for you. Quite often, I fast for one day or one meal a week during Lent. I’ll not eat during certain hours of the day, say from 8 AM to 5 PM on a particular day of the week, such as Wed. or Fri. I eat breakfast and supper but nothing inbetween. This always me to really get hungry. And then I make a donation to an organization with a similiar amount of money that the meal would normally cost, like the food pantry. Another way is to fast from certain foods. I refrain from all sweets during Lent. The problem is that I have to watch that I don’t simply replace this with more/other carbs! The most meaningful fast Rick and I do during Lent is one we do together. We fast during Holy Week, from Thurs. night until Easter morning. We usually have a partial Seder Meal at church and then don’t eat again until Sunday morning. We do have liquids during this time: water, juice, chicken broth, lemonade, coffee. It’s a way for us to meaningfully sacrifice something as a remembrance for Jesus’s sacrifice. If you are going to fast for this longer time, make sure others are aware of this. Last year, we had company on Good Friday and it’s difficult to have and serve a meal when fasting! I think Rick and I agreed to each have a piece of bread while everyone else ate, with our water or lemonade. Most importantly, don’t worry if what you are doing is the “right” way to fast. There are several ways. Make it meaningful for you. Hope this helps you out. If you have other questions, let me know. Blessings – Dianne

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