It's here again. The annual conundrum. What to "do" for Lent.
Now, as I've mentioned once or twice, I'm a pastor. As if this gives me some kind of advantage in approaching this annual conundrum. Ha! I say again, HA!!!
My mind does a little contradance. It goes something like this:
"For Lent I will give up all sugar and flour... No, wait. I have ulterior motives for that: I really want to lose weight, so I can't give up sugar and flour. Motives are too mixed. For Lent I'll read scripture and pray daily. But... well, aren't I supposed to be doing that every day anyway? (supposed, supposed, supposed...) I'll... write down everything I eat. I'll... go on Weight Watchers or the South Beach Diet or the Overeaters' Anonymous diet, and I'll... give it all to God. And if I'm really good, then by Easter Sunday I'll have lost... wait. No. Motives again. Not about God, about me..."
And so forth.
Lately I've been reading those books out of the Valparaiso project, and I simply love this quote:
"Christian practices are not activities we do to make something spiritual happen in
our lives. Nor are they duties we undertake to be obedient to God. Rather, they are
patterns of communal action that create openings in our lives where the grace, mercy,
and presence of God may be made known to us. They are places where the power of
God is experienced. In the end, these are not ultimately our practices but forms of
participation in the practice of God." ~Craig Dykstra
Now this makes sense to me... both in terms of everyday practice and in terms of the Lenten disciplines. We don't "do" things in hopes that we'll become more spiritual, better people.
(Well, we do, but we're wrong, aren't we?) We do things because we are spiritual people... enfleshed spirits, in-spired bodies. Already.
I think I do need to fashion a Lenten practice, this year, that will honor my body as a part of God's creation. I need to be co-creator with God of a new way of my being in the world... I need to find a way of caring for myself that takes this deep need of mine (to be more harmoniously attuned to my body, my health) seriously. Temple of the Holy Spirit. As they say.
Perhaps I'll begin the day with prayer and see where it takes me, every day.