I recently heard about two men in their twenties who decided to give up alcohol for Lent. They grew-up with the idea that Lent in some way invites change. They are not regular “church goers” yet they realize Lent’s importance and possibilities. There are many possibilities for engaging Lent.
Many “give up” something tangible, like candy, movies, alcohol, chocolate, etc. Others “give up” an aspect of behavior that seems counterproductive to growth, negativity, bitterness, etc. Others “embrace” something, like trust, courage or freedom. Still others embrace enhanced opportunities for quiet prayer time or communal prayer time or other spiritual practices. Still others decide to spend quality time with spouse or family to enhance understanding and communication. What these aspects of Lent have in common is the desire to grow and change spiritually, physically, psychologically.
Lent provides an opportunity to intentionally focus on change as a possibility. Sometimes Lent comes to us in the circumstances life presents. Other times we go into Lent desiring to be changed and transformed.
In the Gospel of Luke (9:28b-36) from the Christian Scriptures Jesus and his friends go up a mountain to pray. Their experience was life changing. They were able to “see” in ways they could not before. Their eyes were open to new realities both within and around: fear turned to trust, doubt turned to belief, confinement turned to freedom, uncertainty about the unknown journey turned to openness to the road ahead, disharmony turned to peace, disappointment turned to acceptance. All of this took place while they were praying on the mountain. Their transformation took place when they went apart, when they took time to open themselves to the divine within and around. Not only was Jesus transfigured, his friends’ appearance also changed. It was good to be there!
They wanted to stay, to build a tent, to remain in the peace and comfort of the mountain. Yet they could not stay on the mountain. Their call was to be in the midst of the “stuff of life” and to be further changed by their experience.
Our invitation is to open ourselves to change possibilities by our “mountain top” experiences and by the “stuff of our lives”. The possibilities are endless.
Our invitation is to embrace change possibilities.
Blessings and peace,