Saturday, 21 February 2009

Lent is Just Around the Corner!



We will soon be in the midst of Lent. It is a season that invites us to "hold" Christianity a bit closer, to mine it for its depths, to move into realms of it that we have not visited before. Lent is often described as a time to give things up. In the past few years I have resisted focusing on that as much, while focusing more on taking on something you have neglected over the last year. Maybe better than that is the idea of "holy adjustment." Lent is a time to get the balance back, to assess with an open heart, mind, and soul the reality of what the living of our lives truly reveals to us, and to those around us. One idea is to essentially do both, to give up, not what most people do, something bad for you anyway, but perhaps something actually good! I'll give you an example. A few years ago I was inspired by a writer who loved reading books, spent lots of times doing it, who made the decision to give up reading books for Lent. Her journey and struggle was instructive. I had another couple in my former parish who decided to stop using a calendar or watches during Lent. They loved it, but many of their friends and co-workers did not! That reaction points out what we expect. About four years ago I decided to drive the speed limit, everywhere, for the whole of Lent. Just about drove me and those around me crazy. Many sentiments were shared with me by fellow drivers during that Lent, for following the law! I learned patience and forgiveness.

Lent is a time, like no other, where we are reminded that Christianity is not something that can be dabbled in. There seems to be more and more the quest for a spiritual smorgasbord. We want to look at spirituality like a buffet, taking what we want, leaving what we don't. I see some good in that, but also some that is not so good. I was struck by a friend of mine who was delving deeply into First Nations spirituality when one of the guides she had sought out became a bit frustrated and told her, "you have a spirituality, you should learn it, for all of the good and not so good you can find from it." Christianity, as quite frankly most faith traditions, especially the most adhered to, are not something to be dabbled in but something instead to give over your life too. It is a way of life, not a part of your life.

We will be soon sharing our book study together, studying The Great Emergence by Phyllis Tickle. I have heard from so many who will be joining us for this. I will be launching this the first week of Lent after Ash Wednesday, letting you "get into" Lent a bit first. The best way for us to stay in contact on this is to use this blog. Perhaps this can be a way for us to look more deeply at our faith, where we have come from, and where we might be going. I wish for you a holy, blessed Lent, and the giving up or something, or the taking up of something that is just "off balance" enough to help you see balance again. I pray for you a depth that takes you deeper, less dabbling, more living! I will be working on it, and praying for it too.




Greg Rickel


  1. Greg, I have presented you with an award for the "Best Blog Thinker". This award is for the ethical and personal values that you show in each of your blogs. An explanation is in my blog from today 2/23/2009.

  2. This Lent, I have decided to enjoy the stories of those who take on the discipline of "giving up" or "taking on," but as life has recently brought unexpected challenges, I'll be exercising the disciplines of "letting go" and "holding on."

    I trust that that makes some kind if sense.

    Peace of Christ