So, what common item found in every home and in many women’s purses in most NOT like the spirit of Lent? [take object out of pocket] A mirror…
Why a mirror? Why is this not what lent is about? Lent is not about LOOKING AT OURSELVES, or at least looking at ourselves as the focus or the center of it all. We all know the traditional Lenten question: “What did you give up (or what did you choose) for Lent. And right in the heart of that question is the offending word. YOU! (ME!) The implied “I”. What am I doing? What am I giving up? What am I choosing to do to make this world better?
Don’t get me wrong, those are good questions to ask. Important questions to ask. What in my life is not about what God wants it to be about? What needs to change so I can let my heart be taken over by God? But they are dangerous questions as well, because the focus becomes “ME”. And this season can find us being very successful at “giving up chocolate, dieting, not drinking soda, [be looking in the mirror] and when it is all done, the only person I am more present to is the one in the mirror. Didn’t I do a good job with MY Lenten resolutions. And that is why the mirror is so not like lent.
Jesus warns his disciples about this tendency. “When you give alms – don’t blow the trumpet before you. When you pray, don’t do it for show. When you fast, don’t make it obvious that you are fasting…” IT IS NOT ABOUT YOU, folks. LENT IS NOT ABOUT YOU.
Instead of looking at the mirror, those three practices are meant to have us look outside ourselves to the God whom we love and the world he created. We PRAY – so we can understand how God sees the world and be connected to the needs we uncover in our prayer. We FAST/ABSTAIN – so we might have something to give to others. We give ALMS – so at least one person has heat or electricity or food or medicine. The Operation RICE BOWL containers are in the gathering space, and are a simple way to do that.
This lent – throw away the mirror attitude. Let it be all about GOD! If it is helpful – write the word Copernicus on a few post it notes or small pieces of paper. And stick one on your rear view mirror on you car. And another near the light switch going out of our room or apartment. And another where you will occasionally see it during the course of the day. As often as you see it may it remind you that the sun does not revolve around the earth, nor does lent revolve around you.
And if we do so, then we’ll have lived Lent well…