We are well into the Lenten season, as we look forward to the first day of spring. How fitting that Lent should come in a season presenting new birth, and new growth. Traditionally Christians walk through this season with reverence fueled by the remembrance of what our Lord Jesus walked through the forty days prior to His death and resurrection. Many in the Christian tradition take this time to give up something in their lives. Perhaps we relinquish a bad habit like smoking, or something we truly love like chocolate. Often it is a temporary release of something we plan to resume after Easter.
For a number of years I believed that Lent meant giving up something I really enjoyed, in order to focus on Christ’s journey. For me, it never seemed that hard because I knew that at the end of the season, I would pick up the shelved item or activity and go right on as before. But one year, through a dance I did, I learned that Lent has a deeper meaning and that perhaps sacrifice, albeit an admirable posture, was not the point. Renewal was the intention.
A friend and I danced to a song one Ash Wednesday called, “At the Foot of the Cross.” I have blogged about this event. If you are interested in reading that entry, it is on my blog site and archived under the date July 2012. The song and dance movements combined to act out the process of unburdening ourselves at the cross. This imagery reminded all of us, whether on the altar or in the seats, that it is a choice to hang on to the things in this life that can keep us in a state of spiritual unhealth.
We all have life-changing moments, would you agree? That night, as I shared my art, and God’s message through that art, a new meaning to Lent was born in my heart. I saw the opportunity to drop those things that were hurting me and blocking my ability to hear God’s voice. Unlike the meaning I had come to understand – we give up something to show the discipline of sacrifice – I learned to drop attitudes, fears, and disobedience, in order to walk in the beautiful steps of our Lord’s sacrifice.
I want to say that this season also calls us to reflect, perhaps fast, and be intentional in our examination of what Christ did for us. I have no need, and indeed it is not my place, to tell anyone else how to experience their Lenten journey. All I can say is that due to answering that call to move God’s message as a dancer, I now see the days, weeks, and seasons as avenues for release of the things preventing me from walking closer to my Lord and God. In combination with other traditional ways of examining each Lenten season, I now ask God to examine me and let me know what needs to go, in my life, so He and I can do the work He has for me to do while I am here on earth.
How about you beloveds? What is He calling you to drop at the cross today and during this season? If you listen closely, you will hear Him say, “It is going to be okay, my child. You don’t need that any longer. Just drop it right here.”