A thing that I’ve learned about myself is that I don’t like getting ready as much as I do celebrating. If we have guests coming to the house, I can spend countless long hours cleaning, washing, polishing, tidying and putting away. Then finally the drudgery is over, and our friends arrive, and I can stop with the getting ready, stop preparing, and just celebrate with people. I would far rather be eating and talking with friends than cooking or vacuuming. I would far rather welcome people in than sweep the dust out.
But I know that in order to have a house that is ready and comfortable for guests, I have to do that work of cleaning. In order to have the meal that’s ready for my friends and guests to eat, I have to do that work of cooking. In order to make sure that anyone and everyone has everything they need while they’re at my house, I have to do that work of planning, and shopping and generally getting ready.
In the Christian church, we are in the season of Lent. If you’re part of a church congregation, you might already know this, if you’re not, you know it’s the start of Lent when the pancake supper flyers begin to appear! Lent is a time of getting ready for Easter. Easter is the big celebration – when we remember Jesus’ resurrection, when we celebrate the good news of God in Jesus, and the new life that means for us. But we’re not quite there yet. We’re not ready to celebrate.
Lent is a time of preparation. Lent is a time when we examine our own lives, to see what they are really like. What kinds of changes do we need to make, in order to make our lives more like Jesus’ life? In what ways do we live selfishly in the world? Who or what do we forget about in our daily life, that we should be remembering? What can we change about our shopping habits, about our environmental impact, about the way that we live?
Lent is a time when we should be asking ourselves the hard questions –why do we do what we do? What is it that drives our decisions? And how can we begin to strengthen and improve our spiritual lives?
For many people, living out these questions of Lent means giving up a treat – sometimes candy or sweets or coffee. For others it means taking on a new discipline through Lent, a new spiritual practice that will help us to reconsider our lives – going to church more often, or reading holy scripture more often, or just reading a spiritual book. Lent is about being intentional, about being careful and deliberate about every choice that we make in the world.
As we journey through these next several weeks to the beginning of April, to Easter, I hope your Lent is holy, and fulfilling. This is our time of preparation, to make sure that we’re ready for the wonderful celebrations of Easter!