Monday, April 21, 2014

Lengthening Lent

Lent ended, and nothing changed.

This was a good thing, at least so far as my Lenten disciplines were concerned.  For years, my approach to Lent had been to give up my much beloved hoppy fermented beverages.  It was a nontrivial way to mark the season, and both made every evening 1) a reminder of another commitment and 2) tended to involve me dropping a pound or seven.

But this year, my focus had been a bit different. It had struck me, as the years had gone by, that perhaps celebrating the Risen Christ by banging back some beers on Easter afternoon just didn't mesh with the theology I was endeavoring to live out.

Finally, He is Risen, so I can get back to drinkin'?

Just seemed not quite right, somehow, as if I were celebrating an Easter that fell on 4/20...and in which the primary lectionary reading was drawn from the Fourth Gospel, Twentieth lighting up the big ol' doobie I'd been denying myself for 40 days.  It'd be a strange time to be a pastor in Colorado these days.

This last year, I'd already backed way off my modest but regular alcohol consumption.  It was part of a personal discipline to reduce my total body mass, and laying off of what tended to be several hundred empty calories nightly seemed a great way to help cope with that.  That's been good for the self-care, but it's not the primary focus of my Christian walk.

And so, this season, I've made other changes, shifting habits and patterns in ways that I plan to continue.

For example, I committed to a little more frequency and intentionality in my prayer disciplines.  And that change hasn't changed, now that we're out of that liturgical season.  Nor should it change, I think.  It's actually rather important that it not.

Because the entire point of the season of Lent isn't preparing you to not be in the season of Lent.  It shouldn't be a time that leads you back to the place that you've already been, a few pounds lighter.

Easter, and the preparation for the promise that it represents, should go rather deeper into us than that.