I was on Sacred Space yesterday (before conking out) and I was taken by the little bit of introductory text for this week, which begins the Lenten season.
“We are at the start of Lent, the time of the year when the church invites us to test our freedom, and to question the notion: I can take it or leave it alone. Try that with grumbling, drunkenness, talking about yourself, stealing, gambling, or other habits that diminish our freedom. What habits make you hard to live with? Lent is about regaining control of our own lives, especially in those areas that damage other people. We don’t admire those whose appetites or habits lead them by the nose. Nearly all of us have habits, or even addictions, that keep us from God, and harm both ourselves and others. These seven weeks before Easter help us to focus our energy on improving.”
I do think that one of the things that the evangelical movement has lost is the rhythm of time.Â Â There is something very valuable, I think, about observing the seasons, the festivals, the pattern of the year which the Jewish and Catholic calendars have which is lacking in the contemporary evangelical church.Â God works in seasons, not necessarily literal annual seasons, but in a constant, cyclical pattern.Â I can see those patterns in my own life, and in the lives of those set out in the scriptures as examples.Â I keep coming back to Ecclesiastes, and the idea that there is a time for every purpose under heaven.Â Â There is a time to accept our fallen nature because until we do, we can’t accept grace and forgiveness.Â There is a time to respond in gratitude by trying to live in a more grace-full or grace-abundant way.
And I’m also captured by this idea of freedom, which is so opposed to the modern way of viewing “freedom.”Â Ultimately, people who reject God so they can be “free” to do whatever they want, invariably, inevitably just end up in another set of chains and constrictions.Â I could probably write an entire post just on the idea of freedom.Â In fact, I think I will.
But not till later today. 😉