Friday, April 16, 2010

My Own Personal Lent

First off, I'd like to explain a little of what I'd like to do here, and why I want to do it.

I started this blog as a way to communicate with the Minnesota UCC (United Church of Christ) community while I was in Grand Rapids as a delegate to General Synod 27. The theme was Experience the Immersion, and I certainly did!* During that time I came to terms with my identity as a Christian and took a few huge steps in my journey to be open and honest about my faith with those around me. I come from a Congregational background of believing that "they will know we are Christians by our Love" but always moved and informed by the words carved into my church's pulpit - "I am not ashamed of the Gospel"

Now, like many of you, I am a very busy person. To get you up to date, this spring I have been working (at a UMC church as secretary), interning (at a local production company), going to school (studying film editing) and trying to fit church (CE committee) and fun (karaoke!) in, too. Don't get me wrong, I really like to be busy. But it seems that often the thing I let go first is Worship. And yes, this means not going to church and sleeping in sometimes, but it also refers to the kind of worship I want to do everyday. Taking the time to watch my cat as she rolls on the warm concrete of a sunny day. Making sure to listen between the lines when someone says they are doing well. Being present and recognizing the holy in all its varied forms.

It hit me that I was ignoring this piece of my life when I thought, "I can't give something up for lent! I don't have the time!"

um... wait, what?

But honestly, I think it was true. I was in head space to recognize the silliness of that, but not to address it.

Well, now we're approaching the Third Sunday in Easter, and I'm starting my OWN Lent.

Which reminds me... what does Lent actually mean?!


Lent –noun
(in the Christian religion) an annual season of fasting and penitence in preparation for Easter, beginning on Ash Wednesday and lasting 40 weekdays to Easter, observed by Roman Catholic, Anglican, and certain other churches.

hmmm. and the origin is "spring"? That seems a little literal, and I'm not much for literal.

So, what is spring? Spring is a time of change, rebirth. We have had our time of WAITING in Advent, and it seems to me that Lent is our first introduction into a time of DOING. Jesus goes on a journey, he is tempted, he resists, he teaches, people learn, he is betrayed, he forgives. These are all actions, and though Lent can feel sad, it is not the sadness that encourages us to stay in bed and do nothing. Rather it is the sadness that encourages us to actively seek out joy.

So, I'm going to start my own Lent today. Here are the things I am taking on and giving up. Some may seem silly and not spiritual, but, like, giving up chocolate never seemed spiritual to me, so I guess we're even:

1)No playing computer games- used to play Sudoko occasionally as a way to clear my head, has recently become a way for me to avoid work (I will allow myself some Sudoku and crossword puzzles out of the newspaper, because I do like exercising my brain that way)

2)Blog everyday- I want to try this as a spiritual practice. I may not blog here everyday, but I will try to say where I've posted and make the connection to my personal journey when I do.

3)Do my best to say "Your Welcome" instead of "No problem" - it's a thing I do and it annoys me.

4)Smile at someone everyday and look cashier's in the eyes- that last part may sound weird, but the two go hand in hand for me. I'm rather shy and often try and avoid recognizing others, which is not only just rude, but I think not very Christian.

I think that's it. I'll let you know if I add anything, and how it's all going. And just because it goes along with the post title, and because it's on my Lent Easter 2009 mix...

*read my old posts about General Synod if you're interested. I will also be going back in 2011 to Tampa, which I am super excited about!