Messy Lent.

9 03 2010

Lent is the messiest liturgical season for me. There are the obvious reasons, like mixing ashes for Ash Wednesday, getting ashes on my fingers and forehead, (the fingers is because of putting ashes on others), washing rocks in our yard, and getting lily pollen stains on Easter clothes. Those are the obvious messes that result from Lent. But Lent is the messiest season because if I let it do its work, it changes me. That may not sound messy to you, but trust me: it is. It’s messy because I expect change from Lent… I expect that God’s going to do great work in me, God’s child… along with all the other children God’s going to do great work in. The “wow, changing that one simple thing solved so many of life’s problems” kind of work. Nope, that doesn’t happen. At least not to me. Instead, God works in me a little change at a time.

Lent is messy because little changes tease me. I think I’ve changed in a specific area, and then bam! Oops.. not so fast.

Mon., March 8th.. Messy, mixed colors while painting...

Turns out, I only thought I had changed. Really, I’m right back where I was the day before Lent started. That would be Shrove/Fat Tuesday, when I was eating fattening stuff. Which, by the way, I’m still doing. No, little changes don’t ease life as much as one might hope. They make me pay more attention to God’s work in and around me…. not the giant neon sign works, but the garbage by the side of the road type of noticing, the oops, I shouldn’t have said that noticing, and the yep, now let’s change that instead of just realizing that we shouldn’t do that. The little changes that make me reflect more on Sunday’s scriptures even when I’m not preaching. And that takes time which means the rest of my life stays messier–the house, the organization efforts, the unpacking.

Lent is messy because it inspires creativity in me. Which sounds great until you start trying to blog everyday, or wash rocks, or find a good oil to anoint with for an upcoming worship service. And it’s still great, because in spite of these minor hurdles I love the creativity Lent inspires, and I love who God made me to be when I feel creative. And part of a creative team. Lent is messy because I think that I’m going to be better at reading my Bible and praying–both the talking and the listening part of praying…. but I end up playing Hide and Seek, and finding Waldo for the fifth time in 2 hours, and cleaning up messy paint projects, and picking up puzzle pieces and Hotwheels and stray crayons… and then I’m so tired, I just don’t want to do any of the spiritual stuff. So then I feel guilty, which can get messy.

It’s messy. And sometimes it’s pretty hard. But this year, this season, I’m able to enjoy the messy Lent… so far. Stay tuned.

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