Reset 2012: Pre-Game

Reset button

Greetings friends,

Today is Fat Tuesday, and while I originally thought that this was a celebration of portly people like myself, it's actually the pre-game celebration for a liturgical tradition within the Church known as Lent. The idea goes like this: when Lent arrives on Ash Wednesday (tomorrow), the tradition has it that you would give up something near and dear to you for a period of 40 days in dedication to Christ. So naturally, since today would be your last chance to enjoy such things, you party as hard as you can and consume as much as you can. This is where Mardi Gras comes from, and obviously that hasn't been blown out of proportion.

But for me, Lent is way more than giving stuff up. Lent is a period of re-dedication, of pushing the reset button on our walk with Christ. In an era of human history where my phone literally tells me when it's time to get up, time to eat, and time to go to my next meeting, I think it's easy to forget things. It's easy to forget why we do what we do, why our day holds to the patterns it holds to, why we feel strongly about that which we feel strongly about. And so in Lent, we hit reset. We order things as they should be, we put things back in perspective.

And not just for a minute or two either. Lent lasts for 40 days, a stark reminder that sometimes to get to the promised land you're going to need to spend a little bit of time in the desert. You can't bring our typical consumer culture to Lent, because it demands all of your attention for a long period of time. You have to sit. You have to wait. You have to see things play out over a period of time.

And so my plan is simple (or at least it seems that way on the surface). I'm going to be getting up early each day (6:00 AM for those who were wondering), and spending a significant period of time in prayer and in scripture study. I'm going to be working through the Divine Hours (a habit I had but seem to have lost along the way) and reading through the daily lectionary (again, a habit that once was and isn't any more.) I'm not really giving anything up (other than sleeping in I suppose), so I guess I'll have to skip out on the party today. But I'd invite you to join with me! Pick up a bible, read a little bit, pray honestly and expectantly, and see where the Spirit leads you during these 40 days. Whether you're church tradition celebrates Lent or not, it's always helpful to push the reset button from time to time.

Also, if you're not doing anything and you're in the area, tomorrow night at 8:00 Westminster is hosting our annual Ash Wednesday service to kick things off. If you're a regular Veritas attender, we're going to wrap things up 10 minutes early or so, and head down to the sanctuary. Everyone else is welcome to join us as well!

Here's to a happy Lent, and to pushing the Reset button.