Thursday, February 23, 2012

Mama Bean is writing for Lent

I'm going to write forty posts for Lent. Ash Wednesday was yesterday, so this is post number two. It took me awhile to decide how I wanted to Do Lent this year, because we are, frankly, very busy Doing Church in so many other ways, I had trouble dedicating some space for the discussion to take place.

Every year, I think about Lent differently, what's it really for, what does it mean, why do we give things up or take things on, what's the point? And, just like a Bible passage speaks to you differently each time you return to it, so too has my understanding of Lent's meaning adjusted and flowed into the new experiences of my life.

For example, last year I had a newborn baby, and though I didn't do anything formal about Lent, I did find my thoughts dwelling with Mary, and her experience of Jesus' death as a mother. And my experience of his death as a mother. And how my need for a Saviour, and my gratitude for that Saviour has changed, now that I am responsible for these little lives, and discovered this ferocity of love for these little lives, and will somehow introduce what this Saviour has meant to me to these little lives. It was a heavy Lent, as I recall. I was a bit delirious, yet, so my recollection is hazy at best.

This year, PB is working on a sermon for this first Sunday of Lent using the OT lectionary reading, the story of Noah and The Flood. So I've been preoccupied with this image, this idea of The Flood paralleling Lent.It rained for forty days, Lent is forty days. At the end of the flood, God had cleaned the world, at the end of Lent Christ cleans the world. After the flood, God made a new covenant; Easter is the ultimate covenant to end all covenants.

Here's my thought: Noah and his family knew the rain was pouring down because God was sad with the way humanity had turned out. Every day of rain was a new day of his sadness and disappointment and judgment dripping from the sky. Every day was a fresh awareness of how bad it really was, how big the injury, how dirty the mess. They were being flooded in a very real, tangible way with this physical representation of their need for God's cleansing. And each night they must have thought, surely this will be it, this is enough. Only to wake to that familiar sound yet again...

How does Lent look like a Flood in my life? How can I prepare my heart for forty days with a fresh realization each day that I need Easter? Not in this self-shaming, soul-crushing despairing kind of way, because that's not really useful. More like... well, can you imagine how they felt that morning when it finally wasn't raining?

Can you imagine the relief, the joy, the gratitude?

Can you imagine how Easter could feel like that?

I'm not going to write forty posts about how I Need Easter. That would get monotonous. (Tomorrow, for example, I may write about farts. Won't that be fun?) What I want is for the act of writing to flood my life, for the activity to trigger my thoughts in the direction of Easter, I want to put myself on a metaphorical Ark, and I want words to drip like rain. And I want each post to be a morning-still-raining.

And after that fortieth post, I pray I'll discover Easter in a new way.

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