Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. On the Christian calendar, it marks the 40 days leading to Easter. For our Jewish brothers and sisters, this season includes Passover. Both events profoundly changed the course of history. Both included a sacrificial lamb that today should give us all reason to pause. How do we do that in a time when we have high demands on our time? How do we find and recognize the peace of ultimate sacrifice when we have “noise” all around? We have to make a personal decision-we must be intentional.
In the Christian faith, some choose to give up something of pleasure during Lent. I’ve also heard of people adding something positive to each day, like an act of kindness, a donation, or a special devotion. Whether you are giving up a vice or pleasure or taking up a kindness, the goal is to point us to the eternal, to our Heavenly Father, who made the ultimate sacrifice which was also the ultimate act of grace, mercy, and kindness.
Most of us don’t have fatted calves to demonstrate our faith, but we carry with us many other things we can lay at the foot of the cross- pride, control, self-centeredness and the list goes on. But there are tangible things we can do to refocus.
My family is in an odd season of change. Some of it is exciting, while other things are stressful with the potential for good. This season has brought my husband and I to a decision to pray together every day; not just periodically. Our prayers are for today and the future. Just as in the Lauren Daigle song, First, we bring our hearts before we bring our needs. Above our requests, we want to walk in God’s will; to align the will of our hearts with that of Godliness.
Personnally, right now it’s harder for me to sacrifice something than to do something positive, so I will be giving up soda pop. It may not see hard, but I have a Coke Cola every day. Last weekend we bought a case at Costco that will now have to wait until Easter. And my trips to McDonald’s will be limited to a portion of my daily sodium intake allocated to french fries. To sacrifice this guilty pleasure, I will replace some of the sugar with fruit and the caffeine with coffee. Those things are what draw me to a soda. What I will miss is the effervescence of the bubbles, and the sweetness of the perfect mixture that dances across my tongue with every draw from the straw (let’s face it, the only way to enjoy a carbonated drink is over ice and through a straw). So, until April 12th I will not drink any carbonated drinks.
Will this grow my faith? It is a real sacrifice for me, and every morning I will think of it when I’m not feeling the mist from the Coke falling over the cubes in my to-go cup, or I pass by my local McDonald’s; or at lunch when I go looking for another boost of bubbles. When I experience what I’m missing, I’ll say a little prayer, listen, and expect to hear His voice.
All the best,