There are moments built into our lives to help us remember things. I think because we are stupid bits of dust and easily forget the reality of the world around us. Thankfully we have a maker who remembers that we are just dust, and who graciously puts things in our path to help us remember. The Old Testament is littered with such events, stones and markers to help the Israelites remember the God who had brought them out of slavery and into the Promised Land. The New testament also has it’s fair share of memory moments, with the obvious Lord’s Supper, but there are also many commands for us to encourage each other daily, to remember to whom we belong.
Moments of remembrance throughout the year are clearly a Good Thing. And so we come to Lent. A time of year taken over by people who want to use it to help us exercise will power and remove sugar from our lives. Strangely Lent is not really about that. This quote I found the other day helps.
“Lent is supposed to be a time when we review our spiritual life, think again about what it means to be a follower of Christ, reset the compass of our discipleship and prepare ourselves to celebrate the Easter festival. But often we just give up biscuits” (Stephen Cottrell, I Thirst, p. 12)
“Lent is not about giving up luxuries, not about losing weight or gaining other benefits, not about food per se, not about de-cluttering or Feng Shui or about ay other kind of feel-good, de-toxifying exercise. In the end, it’s about denying yourself some of the essentials of everday life in order to focus on the reality that we depend upon God for life itself; about re-aligning ourselves with God and his purposes in our world; about reminding ourselves that all we have is a gift from God in any case.
And neither is Lent about achievement. We cannot earn God’s love, nor save ourselves. If our Lenten Fast is understood well, it will relieve us of the need to try harder, achieve more, feel worthy. It will ground us in the firm and unshakeable knowledge that we are human – we are but dust, and to dust we shall return – but that to be human is enough, under the loving gaze of God.” (Maggi Dawn)
So there you go. Lent. Another focused time of the year to help us remember where it is we come from, who it is that defines our lives and where we are going. Giving up chocolate almost sounds easier.