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Coming clean…

February 14, 2013

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Today is the first day of Lent.  I will come clean with you and tell you that I am a Lent-practicing non-Catholic.  Most of my life I didn’t really know what Lent was.  It was a joke that you gave something up that you really didn’t want in the first place.  As in, I made this joke yesterday—What am I giving up for Lent?  Cancer.  It’s a real sacrifice.  I was in college before I encountered anyone with ashes on their head on Ash Wednesday. 

 

I have always loved the Easter season and growing up it was celebrated with every bit as much respect as Christmas.  We got new clothes, we sang special songs, we had special church, and everyone got together for a big meal.  I am not saying that tongue in cheek.  Easter was CELEBRATED at our house.  Not so much Lent.

 

When I was in college I nannied for a beautiful Jewish family and because I was in the house so much and cared for their special needs child, I was often included in special events—Passover services included.  It gave me a new appreciation of Easter.  It gave me a new appreciation for the history and importance of WHY I celebrate Easter.  And then I started to really appreciate Lent.  I have practiced Lent faithfully ever since. 

 

For those of you that don’t have Wikipedia bookmarked, the season of Lent commemorates the 40 days that Jesus went into the wilderness before he was crucified.  He fasted and prayed and was tempted by Satan.  Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent and is a day of repentance.  It is tradition to give something up as a sign of penitence and humility to God.  For several years I had gotten into the habit of making Lent my own New Year’s resolution renewal.  But it isn’t that at all.  It isn’t about the sack cloth and ashes.  It isn’t about how disciplined I am or am not in giving something up.  It isn’t about being good or being submissive or being pious.  It is about all those things, but it is so much more than that. 

 

The word Lent comes from a teutonic word for Springtime.  It is a time of preparedness.  A time of sanctification.  A time of renewal.  It is the springtime of the spiritual year in the same way that it is the springtime outside.  It’s time for spring cleaning on the inside.  It’s a time of sanctification and set-apartedness.   And giving.  And baptism.  And whole-heartedness.  It is spring cleaning for the body, mind, and spirit. 

 

This year I am thinking of Lent as my own 40 days of baptism.  Old life buried, new life in Christ.  How appropriate for me as I begin a renewal of purpose for my life to start out on a Lenten foot.  To begin the process with my own spring cleaning.  The old me dead and buried has a stronger meaning, the new life in Christ I want to have stronger meaning.

 

If you haven’t practiced lent before, do a little reading, consider it.  If you have already given up something for Lent consider your attitude and what else might need a little spring cleaning in your life.

 

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. Brenda Haynes permalink
    February 14, 2013 4:30 am

    A counselor at Heartland Cares, previously a priest, gave up hot water for showers. That was the first time I ever heard of anyone giving up anything beside Cokes or chocolate.

  2. February 14, 2013 1:02 pm

    Thanks for this post, Mareeka. Lent is my favorite liturgical season, and Easter is the most celebrated holiday in our house. You have described why it’s so important to us perfectly. It’s not the commercial stuff – I’d boycott all things Easter Bunny if I could – it’s the renewal and reminder of sacrifice and the preparation and the beauty of intertwined Spring and the crucifixion and the promise of eternity and. . . to me, it’s Christ.

    I’ve given up Facebook a couple of times and chose to do it this year, too. It’s not about a showy act of ceremony. Facebook is one of my idols, robbing me of time with my God, my family, and myself. Sometimes I can keep it in check, but sometimes I can’t. When I give it up for Lent it serves as a constant reminder of what’s important. It also allows me to give up my biggest source of envy, wrath, gluttony, boasting, and idleness. That’s definitely a first-world sacrifice, but it serves the purpose for me right now.

    Thanks for sharing! Happy 1st day of Lent!

  3. meredithbunting permalink
    February 14, 2013 1:40 pm

    “Behold! I make all things -ALL things – new!” (Rev. 21:5) and “Write for these words are faithful” Mareeka welcome to all things New!

  4. February 14, 2013 4:53 pm

    I grew up in Catholic community and all my friends were Catholic. For them they observed every Friday as fast day where they did not eat meat. All my friends would give up meat for Lent. I loved to eat at their house during lent because it was my favorite food an they knew what to do with it. It never seem to be a sacrifice to me. I do like the thought that Spring is time to clean up. The sun shines so bright on all my hidden dust and dirty windows that it inspires me to clean house. When the Son Jesus shines on me I see my sins and want to clean up my life. He has a way of finding the hidden dirt in my life that I have ignored. I love your blog and look forward to the next one. Love you and am so grateful to you and Hanna for the love the showed to Frank. You made a lot of hard days easier.

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