We have taken our first tentative steps into the season of Lent. Giving something up for Lent used to be a very serious part of people’s spiritual practice. “Fat Tuesday” emerged as individuals cleaned the dairy and the fatty foods out of their pantries, eating everything in a sumptuous feast rather than throwing it away. Some churches used to strip all of the decorations down from their sanctuaries and went without music during the season of Lent. However, it seems as though giving something up for Lent has become more of a punchline than a spiritual practice.
“I am going to give up housework for Lent!”
“I am going to give up listening to my boss for Lent!”
“I am going to give up chocolate … or dessert … or some other delicious treat … for Lent.”
Some may even joke, “I am going to give up going to church for Lent!”
The season of Lent is supposed to be a time in which we focus more upon our prayer lives. It is a forty day period in which we seek to deepen our faith through Bible Study and reflection. It is the time that we walk with Jesus toward Jerusalem and the cross.
This year, most people will not be giving up fatty foods or dairy. Most people will not be giving up meat on Fridays. Most people will not be giving up chocolate, or sweets, or watching television. The reality is that most people will not be doing anything different in their observance of Lent.
My challenge, if you choose to accept it, is to be different. Do not be like most people.
There is a movement this year encouraging people to do nothing for Lent. By that, the originators of the movement are not suggesting that we act like most people and carry on as if this season is like any other season. The Nothingness movement is a challenge to set aside time every day to do nothing. Turn off the phone, the television, computer, put away the ‘To Do’ list and do nothing. Quiet your minds and your souls and … do … nothing. Be present to God. Be present to the movement of the Spirit. Be still.
Be intentional about your nothingness. Set aside time every day. Give this gift to yourself and to God. May this Lenten season be a time when we truly experience the Presence of God because we make space in our lives for God to enter in.
May God’s peace be with you.
Congregational ChurchUCC, SACO MAINE12 BEACH STREET | SACO, ME 04072