Last week marked the beginning of Lent – something about which most of my Southern Baptist friends and I don’t have a lot of experience. Weather kept me from getting to the bakery to pick up a king cake, a particularly fun Mardi Gras tradition, and if I had wanted to go to an Ash Wednesday service, they were all cancelled in my city.
Truthfully, given how cancer has taken over our lives right now, I had almost forgotten about all of it anyway.
I don’t usually give up something for Lent. One year I did give up social media – mostly. My problem with this aspect of Lent is that if we are giving up something to commemorate Christ’s 40 days of fasting in the wilderness, then whatever I fast from should hurt – it should more than inconvenience me. Giving up Diet Cokes or TV or Starbucks just doesn’t seem to fit that bill.
I have been more inclined in recent years to devote more time to Bible study and prayer during this season leading up to Easter, as a way of focusing my heart on the things of Christ, rather than on the worldly aspects of the holiday. But again, this year I’m not even doing that, as I know that I won’t be able to complete anything I set out to begin. (If this sounds like something you might like, my friends at Grace for Moms have a Lenten family devotional that sounds wonderful. Check it out.)
So, while I have watched my friends on Facebook and Instagram share what they are doing during this season of the church year, I feel like a slacker. I don’t have the energy or brain power (chemo brain is a real thing!) to add something else to my to-do list. But my soul craves these things – time to focus on Christ and not my circumstances, ancient church traditions to remind us of our finiteness, something to point me to the coming Cross and resurrection.
It was with these thoughts in my mind that I approached my Bible reading for today, and read this:
Therefore, holy brothers and sisters, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, whom we acknowledge as our apostle and high priest. Hebrews 3:1
This is the answer to my Lenten longings – making Jesus the center of my thoughts. Whether or not I can do anything else – whether I spend days at a time in bed, whether I can manage to focus on a single scripture passage today, whether or not I can write a complete sentence – I can make Christ the centerpiece of my thoughts.
Do you observe Lent in some way? If so, I’d love to hear what you are doing!