My approach to Lent has never been very spiritual. In fact, for most of my life I have never given Lent a second thought.
The discontent in my spirit tells me it’s time for a revolution in my heart. I’ll be honest, I don’t really know the right way to observe Lent, and my way will no doubt be different from yours. But what if as a collective church, we fasted more? What if we began expressing corporate penance for our sins? What if we decided to give financially, freely and sacrificially, to those in need? I wonder at the revolution that could cause.
I don’t know the answers to these questions, but I believe we cannot afford to live safe and comfortable lives anymore. We need to let God be willing to take us to the deeper places, and that often requires a bigger sacrifice. There’s an entire world out there in desperate need of the revolution that Jesus brings, and if my willingness to let Jesus do his bigger work in me allows another to come to know his freedom, then I’m okay with all the discomfort along the way. That’s the kind of community life that Jesus calls all his followers to, where we willingly give of ourselves to love one another. Can an observance of Lent cause a revolution? I think it can, even if it only starts with one individual.
We have so much here in our country, so much of what we don’t need and so little of what really matters. Can’t I do without so that someone else can live? Can't I trust God to provide for me when my giving requires sacrifice? Because Lent is not at all about what I’m giving up. Lent is all about acknowledging how God freely gave to me, so that I can freely give to others, so we all can live. And this giving and sacrificing, that is what causes revolutions.