During this Christian time of Lent, leading up to one of the two foundational events of our faith, it has been customary to sacrifice something. To give up something for lent – like dessert, or television, or Facebook. I was never able to get into this ritual because — I don’t know, maybe for a lot of reasons.
I saw people do it for the wrong reasons (I need to lose weight so I’ll give up sugar), or because the church said we should (I was never one for blind obedience if it didn’t have personal meaning), or to demonstrate piety (my interpretation of scripture leads me to private piety). Maybe it was because I spent the first half of my life, 50 years, living without because there wasn’t much or because children’s needs came first. I didn’t feel deprived or bitter, it is the way life is. But I sacrificed for 365 days a year, I didn’t see the point of heaping on more self-sacrifice.
There is no longer a need for self-sacrifice in my life, but I still have a hard time getting into the “giving something up for Lent.” This year is different. I have been influenced by several different people, writings from both the living and the dead. A few words here, an idea there. All small, but together they have become a nagging voice I can’t ignore. I usually consider this Divine Intervention. This year I need to do something for Lent.
This chorus of voices has led me to “give up something for Lent;” did you pick up the difference in wording? I am “giving up” that which is most important to my sense of self and my place in the world. I am giving out and raising up my voice, my ability to think and write and photograph the beauty of creation. I am going to speak out as a means of spiritual self-reflection and sharing my thoughts on what makes for spiritual wellness.
If you don’t define yourself as a Christian, don’t hit that unfollow button. My purpose isn’t to bring people to Christianity, especially if your faith is working for you. My purpose is to share with you how my faith informs my living. My purpose is to stimulate your thoughts, spark a little fire in you, so you will join me in posting from your faith perspective. How wonderful it would be if we all linked together to create greater ideas, deeper faith, more hope, more compassionate living. One person at a time, in unison.
I need structure if I am going to be consistent and follow through so I have chosen the Biblical book of Galatians and the text defining the Fruit of the Spirit. I can’t pick and choose because fruit is singular – a package deal. I will cover all of them, one or two a week. This will take me past Easter but no sweat. My spiritual journey doesn’t end at Easter – it is only the beginning.
My spiritual self-reflections will cover the Fruit of Love Joy Peace Patience Kindness Goodness Faithfulness Gentleness Self-Control. I will write on each one individually, but not separate them because each probably lacks integrity without the others. I hope you will look forward to hearing my thoughts on Love and as you anticipate, I hope you will reflect on what your world view believes about love and how it is reflected in your life. I think I will also need to think about what the lack of love means.
Endnote: My thinking has been influenced by books I have been reading, but the blog that has moved me the most has been the Bardo Group. If you are not already reading their contributions, you might want to check them out.