My Favorite Sermon on Lent: The Hero’s Journey of Bilbo Baggins

A few days ago we entered the church season of Lent. Maybe you went to a Mardi Gras party or Ash Wednesday service. Maybe you have decided to give something up to help you focus on this season of penitence and reflection. According to my Facebook feed I gather that social media is a pretty common choice to give up this year.

Or maybe some of you are like me and have decided to take on a practice to bring you closer to Jesus during this 40 day journey towards the cross. My daughter and I are doing a program called 40 Acts that gives you a challenge of kindness or generosity by email each day. Others may go to a Lenten study or commit to reading their Bible more.

Whatever you choose to do to celebrate Lent, I can guarantee you that there will come a day in the next 40 days when your choices and your journey will become difficult. When you will wonder why this matters at all and contemplate just throwing in the towel. Does God really want us to struggle with sacrifices and challenging ourselves? Can’t we just rest in grace?

It makes you wonder if there was a point during Jesus’s 40 days in the desert when he thought about giving up. I can’t imagine isolating myself from my community for 40 days, going without food for 40 days, resisting temptation after temptation for 40 days. It must have been exhausting. You wonder if it brought Jesus to the end of his Son of Man rope.Well, Jesus was not just Son of Man but Son of God, so maybe the 40 days was easier for him.

But the one I really wonder about in today’s Scripture readings is Noah. Long long ago there was a time when things on earth got so bad that God decided to start over. Noah and his immediate family went into the ark with two of every animal. This part we like. We romanticize it as a children’s story. Noah and the animals. In fact my baby shower was Noah and the ark themed as my kids came in twos.

But what happens when we think about the time after Noah was shut up in the ark and before the dove came back with that olive branch. What must it have been like during those 40 days of rain and destruction?

When I think about these scriptures about Jesus and Noah another story comes to mind. And though this story is fiction, I think it carries a lot of truth.

It is the story of Bilbo Baggins the Hobbit and his Unexpected Journey.

I love this story so much because I see so much of myself in Bilbo. I too am a slightly chubby creature who likes nothing better than being at home and having tea and cookies. I too do not like it when unexpected things happen like wizards visiting or dwarves coming over unannounced for dinner. I like a nice, quiet, boring life sometimes. But life for Bilbo was not meant to be boring. The wizard Gandalf and the company of dwarves talked him into setting off on a journey. A journey in which they would hike many miles across the land to the Lonely Mountain in order to steal a precious jewel from the fierce dragon Smaug.

Now when I first read this book I thought no way is this Hobbit going to make it against a dragon. He doesn’t have it in him. But as I read on I noticed the Hobbit began to change. You see the dwarves and Bilbo did not go from Bilbo’s Hobbit hole straight to the Lonely mountain and take the jewel and the mountain back from the dragon straight away. Like any good hero’s journey they had many side adventures first.

In my youth, this annoyed me. I wanted them to go from point A to point B, get things done and move on with life. But as I have aged I have learned that the path is often windy and filled with unexpected things. For Bilbo it was first an encounter with mountain trolls, then a scary mountain climb where he almost dies, and then a long pass under a dark, tomb-like mountain filled with orcs.

And each time Bilbo faced a new foe or difficulty, he rose to the occasion. The once lazy, slightly apathetic Hobbit became quicker and more clever. He learned how to use his gifts and rely on those around him to support his weaknesses. Sure there were many times that Bilbo wanted to give up and just back to his cozy Hobbit hole. But he pressed on with the journey. And spoiler, in the end it turns out he has what it takes after all. And when he finally makes it back to his cozy Hobbit hole, he is never the same Hobbit again.

Because for Bilbo, it was never about defeating the dragon or getting gold. It was about taking a journey that would transform him into a new person.

I think it must have been like that for Noah too. After all, did it really have to take 40 days to destroy everything on earth and start over? God made the world in seven days in the beginning, surely 40 days were not necessary to recreate it? And did Noah really have to go through the agony of bobbing around in that little ark while the rain of all rains pummeled the earth?

I find it interesting that the rain that fell during the flood was not just any rain. Back in Genesis 1 we see the third act of creation is God creating a dome called sky to push back the deep, dangerous waters of Tehom, the waters of chaos to bring a place of safety, order, and life to earth. God then contains other waters into oceans so land can be formed and life can live outside of the deep, dark waters.

When God sends the rains in Genesis, he is essentially ripping a hole in the dome called sky and letting the deep, dangerous waters of chaos re-enter earth and destroy all everything on the land and in the air. It is an undoing of creation.

While the epic waters fell, everything Noah had ever known died. I wonder if Noah ever wondered in the midst of the never ending rain and destruction if God would get carried away and destroy him too?

But during this time all Noah really had was God. All he could do is pray and wait and trust God with his future, with the world’s future.

I think that all that time and waiting and trusting must have changed Noah. Anytime you go through an ordeal like that it changes you. It makes you a new person. And Noah needed to be a new person, for he was entering a world made new. As the person charged with carrying on life, he needed to be close to God, to trust God with any and everything.

Maybe the 40 days weren’t for God, they were for Noah.

And so it is for us. As we look ahead to this season of Lent, we know that it is given to us for our transformation, for my transformation and yours. It is to take me from the slightly chubby, sometimes lazy, and often fearful person and change her into someone who is bold to reach out in love and generosity to the world.

It is to take you from where you are to a few steps closer to who God wants you to be. And of course this journey will be challenging and full of unexpected things. For that is how all 40 day, change you into someone new journeys always are. The trick is to keep walking the path, keep looking to God, keep letting God make us into the person God knows we can be.

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Letting Go of Controlling Time

If you are like me you are a person with a plan.

You have a list of things you want to accomplish and a time line in which you want to accomplish them. However life rarely cooperates with our timelines. Things seem to happen when they want to or more likely when they need to.

Sometimes things come earlier than we had expected and sometimes our plans take much longer to accomplish than we would like.

I met my husband at the tender age of 19. We began to date seriously at age 20 and soon both realized that we were dating the person we were going to spend the rest of our lives with.

I won’t pretend that we were not both afraid of finding our life partner so early.  Were we  ready for this kind of commitment? Were we ready to be with one person until death do us part?

But looking back on it now I would never trade spending my twenties with my wonderful husband. We had the great privilege of growing up together.  And in many ways of raising each other. That is a very precious gift that I will always cherish.

On the other hand when we began to try to conceive a child the process took much longer than we expected. We tried and tried doing everything we could to make a child come into our lives sooner rather than later. But the amount of control we had over the process was laughable. We had two children when the time was full and the children were ready to come into our lives.

That’s the funny thing about time. There is people time and then there is God’s time. Our time we pretend that we can control. We have some inkling that God’s time is way beyond our reach and even understanding, but we don’t like to admit or think about this.

We are currently in the process of selling. This is nothing so life changing as finding your life partner or having a child. But it is still a serious process all the same. I found myself getting impatient this week (one month in) for the house to sell. I have scheduled the first double mortgage payment, that dreaded moment where we will pay both on our new house on our old house in the same month.

Now in my time that would never happen, but in God’s time I accept that this may be a reality. Our house will sell when it sells and most probably will sell when it needs to sell.

Until then the best that I can do is not try to control what happens when.

Instead I hope to settle into God’s Rhythm of the flow of my life.

Waiting on the fullness of time is not the easiest thing to do as a human being, but it is a necessary part of our spiritual formation. We must understand that we are ultimately not in control. Instead one much higher than us holds the hands of time.

Is there something in your life that you’re anxious to have happened? Or that has happened sooner than you expected and now you’re worried you’re unprepared for it?

If so try and take a deep breath. Relax into God’s perfect timing for your life knowing that for everything there is a season.

Letting Go of Controlling Other People

In the realm of learning to let go of things, letting go of controlling other people is a biggie.

Even if we are not particularly controlling people, there are certain people and certain times where we just want to put a pause button on what folks are doing, re-wind a little, and replay scenarios making changes in actions and behaviors.

Most of the time this is for the folks in question own good. Lots of time it is for our own good. People hurt us. People’s actions hurt us. Watching our loved ones suffer hurts us.

But guess what? We are not in charge of them.

This is a big issue in my house right now as I have a soon to be teenaged daughter and a son right on her heels entering puberty even as I write. Oh My Lord. They are doing a lot of things that don’t make sense to me. Frankly, they are doing a lot of things that get on my last nerve.

And technically, I am still within my rights to punish them for their actions and “make them” do things. But my goal is not to be in charge of their life, even if that means they make better choices. My goal is to raise them to become self-sufficient, well functioning adults. And for that to happen they are going to have to suffer the consequences of their own actions for a while.

Not that this is easy. It drives me crazy to watch my daughter go out in winter weather in nothing but short sleeves, a pair of jeans, and some flip flops. So crazy I can even hear my Grandmother complaining in her grave. It makes me angry to watch my son continue to have a zero for a homework grade in math because he did the wrong page of problems and he is too stubborn to admit he made a mistake. KIDS DO CRAZY THINGS AND THEY CAN MAKE PARENTS CRAZY TOO!

To help my sanity and yours too, I am going to repeat the best piece of advice I’ve heard in some time,

“They gonna do what they gonna do.”

Okay, I saw this advice on a dubious marriage “therapist” flyer on facebook, but let me tell you when I read it I clapped and cheered for I knew it to be true.

Right now my kids are gonna do what they are gonna do. And I can punish and nag them to death. Or I can let them suffer the cold, suffer the bad grade, suffer their own consequences. For in truth it is better for them to suffer these small mistakes now than big mistakes they might make if I cut the cord after controlling them for ten more years.

Not that I totally leave them to their own devices. 

No, we are still called to lead by example. (You’d better believe I wear my coat when it is cold). I still give advice one time and let them choose to follow it or not. And of course if they make a big bad choice they will be punished and counseled.

But I think in the meantime it might be best if I keep loving them at a small distance while they figure things out.

Because that’s how God seems to operate in my life. I am not controlled or micro-managed by God (frankly, sometimes I wish I were). But no, God gives us room to make our choices. Knowing that if we suffer enough from a mistake we might have the sense to turn around and follow God’s lead.

And thankfully if we don’t figure it out God in infinite mercy still sends in rescue teams to drag us out of our pit.

But when we just piddle around making less than smart choices that make our life harder than it has to be, I think God just shakes the Almighty head sadly and mutters,

“They gone do what they gone do.”

And God keeps on loving us still.

Letting Go of Sin

Lent is a time when we turn inward and look at ourselves. We may try to give up something or take something on. When we do these things we figure out something pretty quick.

We are sinners.

It is just a fact of human life. We make mistakes. We do things we know we shouldn’t do. We mess up.

Now it would be great if I could write a blog post on how to stop sinning, but frankly I haven’t figured that out yet. I sin every day. Every hour. Can’t seem to stop. Not sure its even possible to stop sinning.

But there is a remedy for sin.

It is called Confession.

The spiritual practice of confession is not something I grew up knowing much about. I pretty much got that we were supposed to confess our sins to God, but I never saw anyone confess their sins to another person as a part of their spiritual healing.

Not that anyone can forgive us except God. But sometimes it help to have someone else on the line with you and the Big One.

When we first started attending the Episcopalian church, our priest would make an announcement at the beginning of each Lenten season about the hours he would be receiving confessions.

Let me tell you this freaked me out a bit. I was just getting to know our priest and no he wanted me to come and tell him about all the horrible things I struggled with? Um, No thanks.

Now as I’ve come to understand confession in our church over the years, there is no secret booth involved. I am not even sure if there is penance given. Frankly, I’ve still never gotten up the courage to go to my priest and confess all my wrongdoings.

But I have had the great privileged of receiving someone’s confession. There were times when I was in the ministry that someone would come in and need to get something off their chest. I would listen and remind them about God’s love and grace.

Sometimes it happens with friends over dinner or a drink.

But my real role model in the practice of confessing sin is my daughter.

I’ll never forget the first time it happened. She was around eight years old. Now my daughter is a very crafty child, always cutting and coloring and making beautiful things. She usually makes these beautiful things at our old wooden coffee table. It is covered in scratches and marker marks and all kind of things. It was a hand-me-down. No biggie.

But one day our daughter commenced to crafting on our almost new ottoman. And she accidentally cut a small hole in the fabric. Honestly I never noticed. For a whole year. But my daughter noticed. Every day that hole in the ottoman ate away at her. She would fight between the guilt she felt at doing something she ought not to have done and her fear of telling me about it. She believed I would be very angry when she told me. She feared severe punishment. She feared me thinking less of her, loving her less.

Finally one day things became too much and she got up the courage to tell me. From my perspective, after hearing “Mom, I have something to tell you, but I’m afraid you’ll be REALLY mad,” hearing “I cut a hole in the ottoman” was actually a big relief.

After she told me, I smiled at her. I hugged her. I told her it was okay. We all made mistakes.I loved her still.

She immediately stated crying in relief.

She said, “You mean I’ve felt bad about this every day for over a year and now I’m not even in trouble?” And then I told her “No, you have punished yourself enough. Just try not to do it again. Crafts are for the coffee table.”

Her sweet child self did not doubt my words. She truly felt and trusted that she was forgiven. That the separation between us had been removed. That she was claimed and held close and beloved.

Apparently the relief my daughter experienced at her first confession made her a believer in letting go of her sins.

Now I get regular confessionals from her. Usually at night when I’m tucking her into bed. In that quiet time when its just me, her, and God. She pours out her heart about what she has done wrong. As she ages, it gets much more diverse than accidentally cutting a hole in the ottoman fabric. But still I listen, I tell her I still love her, I remind her there is grace for all. She is still our girl. And she always breathes such a big sigh of relief after and then settles in for a peaceful sleep.

As she moves into her teenage years it will be interesting to see how this practice of confession continues. It may get harder for the both of us.

But it will be no less important, for our souls long to be free of our sins. Long to breathe a sigh of relief. Long to be forgiven and loved in spite of it all.

And maybe one day I’ll get the courage to follow in my daughter’s footsteps. To pour out my heart to someone other than just God. To confess my guilt, my fears, my weakness. It  must be a relief to have someone be the hands on messenger of God’s grace.

But for now I deal alone with the Big One, laying all my ugliness out on the line. And at night I remind myself of the assurance that in spite of it all, I am claimed as a beloved daughter. If only I could trust and believe it as deeply and truly as that young child.

Letting Go of Fear (Again)

“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself” my favorite president once said.

Even when we know this in our head, why it so terribly hard to let go of the fear? Over and over again?

It was a bad day for me yesterday (hence no blog post). I read too many political commentaries on Facebook. I accidentally watched the news a little. I worried about a big doctor’s appointment my parent had today (that turned out quite well by the way).

By the time I went to bed the voices of fear were raging hard in my mind.

As if to illustrate the point of how bad everything was and how dangerous and tenuous the future remained, the wind blew at my house last night.

And by blowing I mean gusting and rushing and sheering hard enough to knock over trash cans, break branches, and rattle windows.

I lay in bed trying to do my deep breathing, but the fear just wouldn’t let up. All I could see in my mind’s eye was some tree part crashing through the window beside my head or coming down from the roof above me.

Eventually it was too much. My fear got the best of me and I got up out of bed and hid in the back of the closet with our dogs.

A small word of explanation. A while back in order to keep our dogs from playing fruit basket turnover in all our beds all night long, we created a cushy dog den in the back of our largish closet and seal it off each night with a baby gate. The dogs can see us, smell us, hear us. This seems to satisfy their need for nighttime closeness. Plus they get to shed all over my clean clothes.

The unforeseen bonus of the closet dog den is that it became the safe haven of the house. When the children have bad dreams or otherwise get scared in the night, they no longer come to our bed, but sneak into the closet to sleep with the dogs. It works for us.

But last night I was the one inching the baby gate open to lay my fear torn head with my furry ones. And let me just say they are very gracious night time hosts.They don’t mind scooting over so you can have enough room or sharing their pillows and blankets.

I think in a dog’s mind the more bodies to snuggle while sleeping, the better.

After I got settled in our closet dog den (and closed the door a little more to keep out the tree limbs), I noticed something.

Even though I had been terrified, the dogs weren’t scared at all.

They were happy, relaxed, and glad to see me. Once they readjusted a little, they sighed and began to drift back off to sleep.

Now let me tell you something. Dogs aren’t stupid. They can hear the wind just as much and in fact better than I can. When something is wrong or worth being worried about, they know it.

So the quiet snores and rise and fall of their bodies began to tell me something.

Nothing was actually wrong. 

In the actual present moment, there was nothing worth being afraid of. Everything was safe and sound. A little loud, but safe and sound.

All my fears were based on future projections that may or may not happen.

And the good thing about my dogs is that they live in the present, not the future. A practice that I need to adopt more often.

So I lay there a little longer breathing with them and telling myself over and over, “It is okay. Right now everything is actually okay.” If a tree branch breaks through the window we’ll deal with it then. Tomorrow I’ll deal with tomorrow and the future is out of my control.

As I began to calm a little I petted my beloveds in gratitude and then returned to my own cushy bed for much needed sleep.

And guess what? Today was fine. Better than fine.

All we lost in the storm was one hanging flower pot, the appointment went better than expected, and I informed Facebook that I wanted to see less political posts.

As we go through our spiritual journey, we will undoubtedly come face to face with our fears. Anytime we slow down and turn inward they are there waiting there for us.

If only we could all give up fear for Lent and that was that. It would be like the kingdom of heaven here on earth.

But I think the best we can do is face our fears one at a time and let them go again and again.

I pray for you this Lent that you can feel the truth of the present, that you are loved and that for now all is well. And the worries of tomorrow will have their own time to be dealt with.

For now, take a big breath, know the beloved is with you and rest.

 

Celebrating the Small Steps

So I’ve mentioned before that I struggle with perfectionism and not feeling good enough. Recently I’ve had the chance to remember that I got these traits honestly (along with a whole host of good traits).

My dear mother had knee replacement surgery recently. She has just made it through her first two weeks of recovery, which I think is HUGE. But Mom, however, is not convinced. All along the way, in fact she has been a little hard on herself.

Take the moment her physical therapist taught her how to transition from using a walker to a cane. When mom took those first few steps with the cane, I was like a proud parent, clapping with joy at what the baby accomplished. Mom just looked at me like I was weird and kept trying to get her gait just right.

Yesterday Mom and Dad spent their first day without any outside help. I was a nervous wreck. Would they be okay? Could they make it on their own? After a day and half of wondering, I came to the end of myself and popped over at lunch to check on them.

“How did you do yesterday?” I not so casually asked. “Okay, I guess,” Mom replied. “I washed my hair. Did some laundry. Then your Dad and I went out and picked up Chinese to go.”

“Okay?” I’m thinking, “That’s AWESOME.” I guess I thought it so loudly it came out of my mouth. “Mom, that’s really awesome! I’m so proud of you.”

“You really think so?” she asks. “Everybody keeps saying I’m doing great, but I just don’t know.”

Now part of me totally gets where she is coming from. She is used to being a very active, on-the-go woman and now she is laid up at home. She is still limited in what she can do and she still doesn’t feel great most of the time. Knee surgery definitely takes its toll. She probably wishes the whole recovery was behind her and she could move on with life as normal.

But recovering from knee surgery doesn’t work that way. It’s a process. It a journey where you take two steps forward and one step back. You have good days and bad days. And this goes on for WEEKS if not months. No immediate results here.

Much the same is our spiritual journey. When we set out upon a time of healing or growth such as Lent, we have great expectations for ourselves. We want to get from our place of perceived lack to the place we think we should be and we want to get there FAST. Without any delays or missteps, please.

But of course that is not going to happen. Like any recovery or growth, it will be slow and sometimes painful. We will have good days and bad days. There will be two steps forward and one step back.

We may get discouraged or begin to beat up on ourselves.

But there is another way.

I had a chance to meet the beloved, brilliant Phyllis Tickle a few years ago at a conference. As she signed my copy of her prayer book for summertime, I was telling her how we used her daily prayer books at breakfast with our kids. A proud mother herself, Phyllis was intrigued. “Do the books work well with the children?” She asked. I got kind of sheepish and admitted that we didn’t say ALL the prayers or read ALL the scriptures for each day since the children’s attention spans didn’t allow for it. She said something in response I’ll never forget:

It is not the prayers you don’t say that are important. It is the prayers that you do say that matter. 

Oh, Phyllis. Thank you. Thank you for knowing how I beat myself up for all I don’t do and fail to celebrate what good there is in my life.

As you journey through Lent, I pray that you know this in your bones. It is not the things you neglect to do or mess up on that really matter. It is the small steps you are taking each day to grow into whom God made you to be.

And please know that God is not sitting around checking a watch wondering when you will get it together already.

On the contrary, God is cheering and clapping like crazy for every little new step you take like a proud, giddy parent. 

So during this season of self-examination, let’s all be a little easier on ourselves, why don’t we? None of us is perfect, but we are all doing good work. Even when we can’t see it.

But God can see it. And loves us relentlessly no matter what we do or don’t do.

And at the end of the day, that is what matters.

 

Letting Go of the Mask

Sunday we experienced the latest in our Lenten adventure of selling our house and buying a new one. And this one was a biggie.

We had our house shown for the first time!

Yessiree, we fixed our sweet house up nice, put her on the market, and someone actually liked what they saw on the internet enough to come meet her in person.

Why does this sound vaguely like internet dating?

Since this is the first time we have shown a house in 11 years we were all in a tizzy. The kids, my husband, and I all did our cleaning chores, straightened our rooms, and took a look around.

And then the reality of a stranger coming into our home without us being present hit us and we began to hide things.

Seriously hide things. Like we thought a very easily offended sociopath was coming over.

Looking back on it now the things we hid fell into two categories: things we were ashamed of and things that were so valuable we were afraid for someone else to see them.

My husband hid my squatty potty under the bed. Under the bed, really baby? Is it that embarrassing to you that your wife has embraced the squatty potty revolution?

I hid all my strange sinus irrigation paraphernalia (wow, have I ever mentioned before all the weird health related accessories I have?) and our ratty old dish rack.

Then we walked around with Febreeze to hide any lingering dog odor.

My daughter led off with hiding the valuables by packing up her wallet and ALL her electronic devices in a tote bag which she took with her while we were out.

I grabbed all of our prescription drugs and my husband got the checkbook.

My son was the only one who left his belongings untouched, so I packed up his wallet but left his nighttime books and lovies laying on his pillow because, well because how sweet is that?

After we got back to the house and started putting back all our lesser and greater things, it hit me. This was even more like internet dating than I had previously thought (Disclosure: anything I know of internet dating I get from the movies. I have no idea what it is really like).

So often in life we feel we must hide much of ourselves from others. The shameful parts. The weird parts. The beautiful parts. Our most brilliant selves.

Why do we do this?

I know even as I ask that the answer is we are scared of getting hurt. But at what cost does our safety come? Why do I walk around with the shameful parts of me tucked securely away and all my really amazing parts hidden deep in a tote bag? Doesn’t this get tiresome?

Yes, it is absolutely tiresome to hide parts of myself continually. And it prevents me from having true intimacy to boot.

Not to mention how insulting it is to the God who made me to show only half of myself to others. Nor to mention how insulting it is to the people in my life.

Now even my “take me or leave me” son is a little quiet and standoffish with strangers. But I think I can take a lesson from him in how he acts around anyone he has know for a while and decides is okay.

I am going to quit hiding the shameful parts of myself under the bed. Strike that. I am going to quit thinking of any part of myself as shameful. If I can embrace my love of the squatty potty, I can embrace it all.

And I am going to quit hiding my most brilliant, valuable part of myself as well. Even if I am scared that people will feel threatened by them. Even if I am scared someone will try to misuse them.

It is time to stop being the girl in junior high who faked not being able to play pool so the boys would like me. Or because I was scared they would like me.

Time to take the all the lights out from under the bushel and let them shine.

So as we journey through Lent I’ll ask you to consider what parts of yourself you are hiding and why?

Do you think you too can begin to take off the mask and let the whole of God’s wonderful work that is you shine?

Sundays in Lent

I did not grow up in a highly liturgical church, so when I first began observing Lent, I thought of it as a 40 day block from start to finish. Whatever I gave up or took on or otherwise practiced, I did it straight on from Ash Wednesday till Easter.

Then I began attending an Episcopalian church where folks are old pros at practicing Lent. They shared some interesting info with me..

Lent doesn’t really include Sundays. I am not even sure if the Sundays are counted in the 40 days.

I mean Sundays are affected by Lent as we put up all the golden worship accouterments during Lent, say the confession every week, and don’t sing the Alleluia, but still. Sundays are different than other days during Lent.

If you have given up something for Lent, you may enjoy it on Sunday. Sundays are a day to take it a little easier, to be more joyful. To celebrate a little.

Why?

Because as one of my priests told us, every Sunday is a little Easter.

And Easters are for celebrating.

Feasting, not fasting.

I remember the year we gave up eating out for Lent and gave the money we saved to a hunger initiative. We still went out to eat after church every Sunday, because, well, little Easter.

I enjoyed those casual meals out as much or more than I have any fine dining experience. Because they were special. The exception.

Maybe that is part of why we fast from things. So that the feast has meaning.

When all of life is feast, we take the celebration for granted. It becomes more selfish gluttony than an intentional, joy-filled moment.

When all of life is fast we may get grim or self-righteous. Or just plain worn down by the effort of it all.

I hope you take a note from my Episcopalian friends and don’t forget to enjoy the little Easters each Sunday during Lent. In fact, they may become some of the more meaningful moments of your Lenten journey.

Happy Sunday Everyone!