Monday, April 2, 2012

Lenten hunger

This Lent has been an experience for me. I gave up media for Lent. No papers, no tv news, no blogs. I wanted to divorce myself from caring about politics and refuse the invitation to disagree and be disgusted with people who have different policy preferences from me. All in all I have been pretty successful at avoiding the news of the day and have had a concurrent opening of my eyes and heart to the everyday needs of the people around me. I have certainly read more on spiritual matters and contemplated God more frequently without the background noise of politics taking my attention. My understanding and respect for Lent has grown. I've been toying with the idea that Lent should be our permanent state of being until we meet Jesus in Heaven. I've been struck by the modern Christian's inability to live in Lent and the rush to Easter. Really, a refusal to submit to Lent. A determination to understand Lent only in the context of Easter.

And I think this is a serious mistake.

We are full of food, material possessions, spiritual wisdom, good works, etc. But we are missing the emptiness that learns to rely on God alone. We are missing the emptiness that brings truer faith. Faith that has no security, no illusions, no ego. Only hunger for Jesus. Only knowledge of our sinfulness. Only understanding of the true measure of God's grace.

My pastor preached last Sunday and brought up Jesus' temptation in the dessert. And what did Satan offer? A full stomach, knowledge that God would save Jesus, respect and admiration from the world. This Lent has taught me how much I want those very things. How much I pursue them as though they were a good thing. Did you get that? The devil doesn't have to tempt me. I pursue these temptations.

I pray, God, that at the very least I don't do the devil's work for him.

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