I haven't spoken much about Lent this year yet. I don't know why I haven't, except that this year, it seems to be an exceptionally private time. It is, of course, a time of meditation, of clearing the chaff from the wheat, the re-ordering of things according to their proper priorities, of seeing things as they really are.
Lent is a desert time. You strip down to the essentials and venture forth into the barren for forty days to seek what it is that eluded you in the time of abundance. Ours is not the only culture that's done this - Native Americans have a long history of sending young men out into the wastelands, seeking insight as part of their coming of age ritual. But our Lent is unique in that it is not showy. Like Daniel in Darius' court, we are called to a desert in the midst of the ordinary, to strengthen ourselves by the denials of things right before our eyes, things we haven't the luxury of running away from.
What is the point of all of this? The destination is as simple as Dorothy's goal on the Yellow Brick Road: we seek to find our way home. We are called to be "transformed by the renewing of our minds" because we are not of this world. (And, yes, regardless of whether or not you profess to be Christian, this last goes for you, too: this world is not your final destination. You are called to higher and better things - isn't that awesome?!)
Lent is a time of remembering who we are and whose we are. It is a time of great homesickness. It is a time to remember that there is a home waiting for us at the end of the road, lights on, door open, and a loving father, waiting with open arms to welcome us back.
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