A New Perspective on Lent
The Frost Tower in Austin is a unique architectural feature of the downtown landscape. It's tall silhouette and unique top stand out among the buildings around it, but the structure of the building isn't what captures the imaginations of the people who see it. Everyone sees something different in it. Some see an owl similar to the Rice University mascot looking down over the University of Texas campus. Others see the tip of tweezers rising into the sky. Then someone told me it looked like nose-hair clippers and I've never been able to unsee it.
We can see things from so many perspectives, and each one helps us see something unique about what we are looking at. As we come to the middle of Lent, I challenge you to take a fresh look at what you are doing and give it new life.
We are told to fast, pray, and give alms, and we generally give up coffee, sweets, or snacks. Each of these is a good practice in its own way, but we rarely ask ourselves why we do them for Lent. Do we give things up just so we can pick them up again? Easter comes, and we drink our celebratory coffee saying, "Thank God that's over!" Or we eat our chocolate bunny, melting into sighs of relief and joy. For what? What is the point of these practices in the first place?
As I've gone through Lent this year, I have challenged myself, my family, and my friends to look at their Lenten practices in a more purposeful way.
Lent is a time of preparation and purification. If we want to know what we are preparing for, I think it helps to think of ourselves on Easter Monday.
That's right. Monday.
Easter Sunday is a celebration on its own, and we rightfully see it as an ending of Lent, so I want you to go a little beyond that day to see that we are called to continue on. The story of the Resurrection didn't end on Easter it had just begun.
When you look at yourself on Easter Monday, what has your Lenten practice prepared you for?
If you are having a hard time thinking about how breaking your coffee habit is getting you closer to heaven, I'll give you a few examples of practices and preparation that I have heard this year to help you figure it out.
I'm going to try to build people up at least twice a day– On Easter Monday, she will be more able to see people as God sees them and treat them accordingly.
I'm going to read the daily readings each day- On Easter Monday, he will have grown in love for the Word of God and is better able to hear God's voice through Scripture.
I'm going to give up snacks– On Easter Monday, she will know that she has the willpower to overcome temptation in a way she didn't before.
I'm going to be fully engaged with my children when we have our playtime with no phone or computer to distract me– On Easter Monday, she will be more deeply connected to her children and the value she sees in them will help them to see how precious they are in the eyes of God.
See how it changes what you do?
Now, tell me... what is your practice preparing you for? If you're not sure, tell me your practice and I'll help you figure it out.