catapult magazine

catapult magazine

Vol 5, Num 5 :: 2006.03.10 — 2006.03.24


Decorating for Lent

Have you ever wondered why there is no home d?cor to accessorize with in celebration of Lent? There are no liturgical purple tablecloths to purchase with black Good Friday accents. No desert sand and rock centerpieces with fake wooden fish stick obelisks to display.

Can we really celebrate Lent, as a ?less is more? holiday? It takes a mindset of questioning rather than a supermarket checklist of what to procure.

Jesus? whole life was a Lenten celebration. Philippians 2 says, ?He emptied himself? of being God and became a sinless man. We can profess to try to empty ourselves of sin by refusing to eat ________. Our profession can only open the door for humorous contradiction.

One year our family?s Lenten observance included Passover cleansing and abstinence from leaven, the Biblical symbol for sin. On our 7th day of Matzoh crunching, my preschool son inquired, ?Can we eat sin again?? as we passed a Wendy?s restaurant.

Brillat-Savarin, author of The Philosopher in the Kitchen, states ?A strict observance of Lent made possible a pleasure which is unknown to us now, that of ‘un-Lenting’ at breakfast on Easter Day?.. If we look into the matter closely, we find that the basic elements of our pleasures are difficulty, privation, and the desire for enjoyment. All these came together in the act of breaking abstinence, and I have seen two of my great-uncles, both serious, sober men, half swoon with joy when they saw the first slice cut from a ham, or a pate disemboweled, on Easter day. Now, degenerate race that we are, we could never stand up to such powerful sensations!?

So is the goal of Lent merely to ?un-Lent?? Is cleansing important just to exercise our control issues over dirt?

My confession is often like Peter?s in John 13??I don?t understand and all I want is more?. In this scenario, Jesus takes up the basin and the towel as a servant. He renews his relationship with each disciple via a humble, practical foot washing. Peter looks on this display. He then voices his opinion on what needs to happen in order for him to feel cleansed. Jesus reminds Peter whose opinion counts in a relationship with God.

Jesus? viewpoint renews me. It isn?t whether I scour the house or abstain from ________. I must realistically acknowledge His Lordship, trusting in His finished work, not my quest for control. My wrong estimations of my abilities to out-cleanse, out-quest Jesus?as He longs to shepherd me?leaves me frustrated and incomplete.

Hopefully, I can create an empty space for the Incarnate Word to live more fully in my heart. Then I will have completed Isaac Watts? Christmas Challenge, ?Let every heart prepare Him room.?

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