Monday, March 01, 2010

Contemplating the Trinity for Lent - Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

If you have been wrestling with the meaning of Lent, whether to give something up or take something on, or just to understand a bit better the disciplines of Lent, here is an article just published at the Journal of Lutheran Ethics on Contemplating the Trinity for Lent.

A pastoral colleague once told me that he fasted for 40 days when he was in college. He ate nothing for 40 days. He wanted to fast like Jesus. At the end of his time, he was disappointed because he didn't have a profound religious insight or awakening, no miracles happened.

Sometimes taking on "disciplines" can be like this. I know that sometimes I commit to something for a season, and although I do it, it is just dry. Although my colleague didn't say this, maybe he needed not to have a great religious experience as part of his fasting. If he had had one, maybe he would have learned to chase after greater and greater disciplines through longer and longer fasts, rather than simply trusting in the mercy and presence of Christ as Christ presents himself.

This Lent I decided just to write more. I had a daily longing to write more, but wasn't setting aside the time to sit down and write. Blogging had always, at least for a long period of time, been a great outlet for writing. So I decided this Lent to just bless the convergence of my longing and Lent.

I don't know whether anything will come out of it. But that's not the point. I think sitting down, each day, and writing, is the point. Maybe these essays and reflections and notes are like prayers. Maybe they will deepen my understanding or relationship to God. Or they may remind me of how distant I am from God. I'm not sure.

What I do know is that I will have established forty days of habitually writing, day in and day out. That is no small thing, and who knows how God will make use of that for God's purposes. So I'll just write and trust.

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