Does it bother you every year that the Gospel on Ash Wed says “take care not to perform righteous deeds for other to see,” and we immediately follow it up by getting big honking ashes on our foreheads to show off all day?
This brings up a pretty big topic, actually: how does one weigh the balance between evangelizing, whether by silent sacramentals or by overt speech and actions, and Jesus’ aforementioned admonition to do your good deeds in private? I mean, most evangelization by words, outside church at least, ends up pushing people away rather than drawing them in. And yet Jesus also says “Go and make disciples of all nations.” Can’t do that without a little overt religious display. The whole thing seems like a conundrum to me.
Fasting was really hard this Ash Wednesday. I mean, I haven’t really had to do it in quite a while. Pregnancy and breastfeeding excuses a lot of fasting when your kids are as close together as mine! I’ve always tried to do something, but this year it’s time to do it for real. Only…what is considered a fast when you’ve already cut 15-20% of your caloric intake for weight loss? I decided to try to keep the count under 1200 instead of 1600. I managed it, but…I confess that I had half a graham cracker for a snack, because hunger was morphing into a blood sugar imbalance.
This is one of those Lents that I just wasn’t–still am not–prepared for. In the last three days before Ash Wednesday, I came up with half a dozen really hard spiritual disciplines for Lent. Each of them seems as necessary as the next….because each of them arose from its own unique moment of deep, unpleasant self-recognition. They’re all things I need to address to become a better reflection of God in the world. But I know I can’t do them all. I’ll self-destruct and end up even farther away. I’m still trying to work out how to honor all that self-revelation at once.
Which makes it hard for me to to start doing Lenten activities with the kids. My own journey seems overwhelming at the moment.
This looks like a nice countdown for a Lenten activity to use with kids, don’t you think? Maybe something like this is just what I need this year….
Bonus: a morning add-on. When I was leading music for Life Teen at our local Newman Center, oh, twelve-thirteen years ago, there were two brothers named Ike and Kemi who were just rock-my-world awesome people. Beyond high school they’ve gone on to become Life Teen musicians–Ike with his own band, Kemi with Matt Maher. Last night on FB we got word that Kemi’s wife had delivered their baby at 23 weeks. They had three hours with her. Donations are being accepted here to help with hospital/funeral costs.