The ashes have been applied again.  As they have for most of my 32 years and this year’s are no less powerful.   The butt dust jokes did not enter my head because of the phrasing used.  Although reader remember, you are but dust and to dust you shall return.  With those words we entered another season of Lent.

It seems like the word sacrifice is being tossed around a lot lately. And I get it.  For many people Lent is about sacrifice.  I have fast from food during Lent, twice.  I have given up meat, Coca Cola, sugar, buffets, fast food, eating out…you name it, and I’ve sacrificed it most likely.  But sacrificing in this way is similar to using lent as a second chance at a New Year’s resolution.

“God, I know I only made it to January 4th without eating fast food (chocolate, beer, the 4th cup of coffee in a day), but that was just a superstitious thing. This time is for you and to remember your sacrifice.”

Has anyone else prayed this?

For me, I have prayed similar. Always having another time to sacrifice.  If January 3rd ends it then I’ll be more diligent on lent.  If I can’t make it 40 days (without Sundays) I will wait until Ramadan and if I can’t stop buying lunch in the fall, I’ll improve on January 1st.

So a couple years ago I stopped fasting…and sacrificing.  Because I felt it was legalistic.  Also I wasn’t aware of when Lent or Ramadan started so didn’t prepare well.  And matter of fact it probably was legalistic.  It probably was about doing something for others to see.  And it was definitely about missing the point.

We were reminded tonight that Lent is actually about spring.  It is not about darkness and death, but new life and joy.  It might lead up to the dark Friday, but Sunday is coming, as brother Tony would say.

It is about sacrifice, but not a one-time thing.  A 40-day commitment. It is about giving up but as a way to change your life.  Because out of that sacrifice, that death, something more glorious shall rise.

So it took a while but giving up sugar one year taught me I didn’t need an afternoon snack and I remember that.  Giving up Coca Cola led me to learn moderation with it within the next year.  Same with beer, television, sarcasm, debating, slacking, excuses…the list continues.

What am I giving up this year?

It’s a secret because I don’t want you to know if I fail, and also because I don’t want you to know if I succeed.  God knows what it is.

But hopefully you will see the fresh seeds of resurrected life growing from me in the coming months.

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