Seems I disappeared awhile. Did you miss me?
Truth is, I’m sorting some things out and rethinking about when best to write and about what. I am still sorting. Meanwhile, Lent has arrived and I am following the practice of a book recommended to me by a new acquaintance, Jessica.
“40 Days of Decrease” by Alicia Britt Chole is the book name. Subtitle: “A different kind of hunger: a different kind of fast."
40 chapters, one for each day of Lent. Sundays excluded, of course. To follow along, I made a table to sync the chapters with the actual dates of Lent 2018 and a little space to write a reflection each day.
The fasts are unusual:
- Day one: Lent as a project
- Day two: Regrets
- Day three: collecting praise
- Day four: artificial light
- Day seven: a meal
Here, from Day two:
At least since the Council of Nicea in AD 325, Lent has been a forty day, communal focus upon the most disillusioning season of the first disciples’ lives. Jesus, having confessed to be the Messiah, prophecies His soon-coming death. Jesus, who commands winds and waves, allows Himself arrested. Jesus, who bests the brightest Pharisees and Sadducees, refuses to defend Himself when falsely accused. Jesus, who raised others from the dead, chooses not to save Himself.
In Jesus’ journey cross-ward, the disciples’ illusions of what Jesus could and should do with His power were shattered by the reality of what Jesus actually did with His power, and their personal illusions of commitment-unto-death were shattered by the reality of fear-inspired self protection. Meditating on Jesus’ suffering and the disciples’ disillusionment creates a framework within which we can spiritually process our own loss of illusions and gaining of realities. This is critical, because… reality is where we meet God.
This is always the case with God. We typically attempt to pull Him into our lives only to find that nothing about Him syncs with anything that we are or desire to be in our own intellect. The only way to overcome the constant crisis of that misfit is to yield, to submit to His incessant but loving tension to be drawn, pulled into His life, manner and ways.
Painfully we learn and as/if we choose in faith to continue, we yield to how God works transformation in us - through crisis, friction, discomfort, stretching, chopping out, suffering and, yes, death.
These are the only ways to the new life God offers in grace through Christ.
So here I continue, sorting and being shaped. You?