What Form of Sacrifice Works For You

Lent began yesterday. Somehow Fat Tuesday and Ash Wednesday just went past me, almost unnoticed. I was not raised in a tradition of emphasizing Lent. My virtual friend, Jon Swanson, has written a book for people like me–Lent for Non-Lent People. You can check it out, if you’re like me.

I guess it was the guy who gave up watermelon for Lent back when I was a kid that emphasized the frivolous nature of such traditions. That was back when Catholics fasted on every Friday. We had two or three Catholic kids in our school. The school cafeteria served either fish sticks or grilled cheese every Friday. I couldn’t stand either one (terribly finicky eater back in those days). Figured I could never become Catholic. Ah, kids and their ideas.

But I digress.

I’ve been reading people’s stories about their Lent experience. Many seem to be turning the fasting or sacrifice idea on its head a little. Instead of giving up something that they normally eat, they are finding ways to serve.

How about that? A special way of serving as a Lenten sacrifice? That sounds intriguing.

As a culture we build up Advent as anticipation of Christmas, but not so much Lent as anticipation of Easter. I guess there are so many secular Christmas songs–usually about snow, friends gathering, food, that sort of thing.

Easter is the end of winter, beginning of spring. Bad weather. Mud. Tornadoes. We’re tired of friends coming over mooching all the food.

I’ve been reading a lot lately about the meaning of the resurrection. How we would not be Christian without it. I am a liberal in many ways, but I never understood liberal theology that couldn’t explain miracles, so they didn’t think a resurrection such as described by all those eye witness writers could have happened.

Bill Hybels just explained his “Do…Done” explanation again last week at Willow Creek. Use it with a seeker who asks. Some people say we get on God’s good side by what we Do. The more we Do the better. That is, until we discover it’s a gerbil wheel getting us no where. Then we discover the Done–what Jesus already has Done for us. We just acknowledge it and believe. It’s so simple.

So Easter–we celebrate the “Done”, the culmination of what began at Christmas.

How do you focus?

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