This Wednesday, February 26, is Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent in the liturgical calendar. How do you anticipate entering into Lent this year? Through my years of observing Lent I have given up a number of things. I remember one year giving up coffee. It almost killed me. I suffered a kind of withdrawal experienced as headaches for the first few days and then as a profound sense of loss of something I really enjoy.
Compounding the loss was my failure to realize Sundays were not included in the “giving up” part of Lent! Or perhaps I did know and thought I would be wimping out if I broke my coffee fast on Sunday. After all, wasn’t Lent a time to experience pain through loss of something I love? Those were my early days of misunderstanding the meaning of Lent.
Marjorie Thompson offers this gentle yet firm correction in her book Soul Feast:
Lent is not a six-week inconvenience in an otherwise abundant year, during which we somehow please God with voluntary if minor suffering.
A fast, she explains, is intended to remind us “we do not live by bread alone”. Lent heightens our awareness of God as the source of life and all that sustains life. It is through “giving up”, our awareness of and appreciation for the gifts of life is heightened.
What will your fast be this year? Over the next six weeks I will be giving up God for Lent. And I am going to bring you along on my journey. Before you get too nervous, allow me to offer you this prayer by German mystic Meister Ekhart:
Therefore, I pray God he may make me quit of God that I may find God.
Is a certain leave-taking of God necessary in an authentic journey of faith? I strongly believe it is. Who of us have not let go of images of God along the way that have been unworthy of God? How might we be “quit of God” in order to open our hearts to a more life-giving and authentic faith? A certain kind of atheism is needed before our faith can mature.
Allow me to be your guide these next six weeks of Lent as we let go of God in order to find God. What God might you need to let go? These PartnerConnects will be opinionated. As always, your comments are welcome.
Wm. Paul Young event in Calgary April 18, Lies we Believe About God
Being With Our Sorrow – Saturday March 28, 2020, St Lawrence Anglican, Calgary
Facilitators: Helen Barry and Pearl Nieuwenhuis
Brad Jersak opens us to A More Christlike Way