Wednesday, February 21, 2007

A Pause for Lent

I used to envy the girls in my predominately Catholic elementary school Easter. Easter meant new dresses, bonnets, and pretty patent leather shoes. Oh, how I envied them those pretty shoes.

But, I never envied them Ash Wednesday when they had to come to school with smudges on their foreheads or Lent where they all seemed to give up dessert after lunch or candy. I still remember one second grader telling the rest of us that she had convinced her mother to let her give up peas.

But, my adult Jewish Unitarian Universalist minister self likes the symbolism of the call to renewal, to self sacrifice, to reflection, and to preparation for the days ahead. I like the idea that for forty days, people are called to actively engage with that that they call divine and try to emulate character and spirit.

I think there is something humbling about asking oneself "What can I give up that is keeping me from being the best person I can be so that when the rock is rolled away, I will be ready. What can I start doing to be ready?"

It's not a question just for those of us who observe Lent and Easter. It's actually not a question we should only ask one or 40 days a year. But, today is a good place to pause and remind ourselves of our better intentions.

What are you ready to give up? What are you ready to begin? How can you best "let God be God in you?"

1 comment:

Pam said...

Thank you for this reflection, Rev. Haffner.

I also read about a beautiful preparation for Lent practice in the Christian Orthodox church - the Forgiveness Vespers.

You can read about it here:

www.beliefnet.com/blogs/crunchycon/2007/02/forgiveness-vespers.html

The idea of giving and receiving needed (and unneeded, or maybe "didn't realize I needed") forgiveness as a faith community was, I thought, really beautiful.

Praying for all to have a fruitful season of reflection, repentence and preparation.