The Value of Simplicity
Have you noticed the austere beauty of the Lenten season? In our churches the lush beautiful flowers have been replaced with barren branches. The decorations are spartan, and the colors are deep and pure.
I love the simplicity and space that is created this way. The form of each branch gently and beautifully leads your eye upward in the arrangements near the altar at my church. Without all the extra foliage, their true form is easy to see. Without all the extra decorations, the foundation they stood on is revealed.
I think we strive for this simplicity in our practices of Lent. In taking away our distractions, remembering what is important, and giving more of ourselves than we usually do, we reveal a little bit more of who we truly are.
Unfortunately, sometimes the foliage and extra decorations are covering things that are in disrepair, and so it can be with us. We may see that we have been more selfish than we realized. We may see that we are not as kind or engaged as we would like to be. We may see that we are deeply wounded and haven’t healed.
This, too, can be a point of beauty and purpose in our individual Lent. As we reveal each piece, we invite God in to build up, redeem, and heal.
We do this with hope because we know that Easter is coming. All of these things, which seem to be dead, will be brought to life again through the empty tomb. This is the destination, the goal, of our Lenten season. It’s not just a date, it is an event that is real and can transform our lives.
So if you are finding this Lent a bit hard, don’t be discouraged. Instead, wait patiently, watching for the work that God is doing in you. It is only when we see our weaknesses that we discover the strength we have to overcome them. Amen?