Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Setting up for the Party

What's the party? It's one you don't want to miss! It lasts 50 days! Which makes sense...because it's celebrating the most important thing that ever happened! It's the celebration of Easter, when Jesus rose from the dead and conquered the powers of sin and death. But we're not there yet. Before the party there must be preparation. Lent

Lent begins today on Ash Wednesday when we are reminded that we are dust and to dust we shall return. Seems maybe a questionable way to begin. What does our dustiness have to do with Jesus' resurrection?

It's puts us in the right place. It reminds us that we're not as awesome as we thought. It humbles us. And we need to be humble so that we can properly receive Jesus when Easter comes.

The disciplines of Lent - fasting, prayer and alms-giving - bring us back to the basics of what's really important in life and give us the opportunity to see with clearer vision what we really need and what we really don't.

And it's then, when we have removed the unnecessary things from life (or added necessary things) that we are much more ready to welcome Christ. A house full of boxes and bags with haphazardly arranged furniture isn't good for welcoming guests into so neither is a soul that's distracted, dirty and disordered good for welcoming Christ into.

So, this Lent I encourage you to take time and spend the effort to make yourself ready for Christ. It's definitely worth the effort.

And after all, the setup is only 40 days.

On the effort, i.e. the fasting, praying and alms-giving, don't be intimidated. Grand efforts aren't as necessary as it may seem. Little sacrifices, if done with the right spirit, can be much more fruitful that huge efforts done, say, out of fear of fire and brimstone. Start small. Do simple things and then take the fruit of those to build up your discipline. In the end, I promise you that the rewards are sweeter than the trials.

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