I’ve been vaguely pondering this thing called Lent recently. Mainly I’ve been trying to not ponder it because of the angsty moments Christians seem to have about it. There are two main camps on the issue, those that are embracing the chance to get a bit more focus in their day to day living and remember Jesus by giving up something or taking up something and those that are delighting in the freedom that they don’t have to. Sometimes everyone becomes a bit too smug about their interpretation of what Lent is or isn’t about and whether we should be celebrating it. That’s really the problem, it’s kind of up to you whether you want to chose to partake in this festival or not, being shouty about whether we should or shouldn’t be doing it isn’t going to help, nor is parading your Lent virtues or rejection of the whole thing. I think Jesus told us to do somethings behind closed doors for a reason. Fasting or not fasting is between you and God, and maybe a few close friends to help you along the way.
At the very least (failing not to nail my colours to the mast here..) Lent is a brilliant lead into Easter, reminding us of our broken weak state and setting us a marker point in the sand as we see again our need of a cup, a tree and an empty grave.
Whenever I’ve thought about stuff I might do or not do for Lent I generally come up with a list of things that really should be part of my life anyway as part of living well in this walk with the Maker thing. One of those is thankfulness. Thankfulness seems to have a strange kind of power in our lives, a lack of it leads to not being content, fear, forgetting who is in charge of this world. Last night in our small group we read these words from 1 Thessalonians 5: 16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Giving thanks takes us out of ourselves and puts the emphasis on someone else, giving thanks in all circumstances is a world away from the slightly insane notion of giving thanks for all circumstances, giving thanks brings a recognition that there is someone to thank.
I’m not all that great at giving thanks in all circumstances, but that shouldn’t be a barrier to me because above all this is God’s will for my life. I spend lots of time trying to work out if I’m doing God’s will and worrying about where my life is going. I really should pay more attention to the glaringly obvious truth in front of me. Here it is, God’s will for my life, the thing we all want to know. It is:
Be joyful, pray and give thanks.
In every circumstance I find myself in.
Maybe God really is more concerned about the direction of our hearts than that exact place where we can feel like we’re fulfilling our destiny in life.
All these preamble leads me to a choice. I can choose to be thankful and I’m going to try and do that here. Each day. Not to show off about my amazing life to the world (3 readers who still read this blog) but to have a space to remember each day that there are things to be thankful for. Finding them might be fun. Finding them in the black days that descend on my mind will be a challenge but it might just be worth it to attempt to follow God’s will for my life.
Anyone want to join me?