Abandon Lent

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To abandon something means to stop supporting or looking after it. Synonyms for the word are: desert, leave, renounce, and or ditch.
Lent is a time to acknowledge our broken ways and the need for God’s mercy.
With these thoughts in mind, our theme this year is to Abandon Lent.
Wait. I’m confused. Adam, are you telling us to walk away from Lent? To give up Lent like we give up chocolate during the season of intentional solemnity full of self denial?
Yes! And no!
It is a poor attempt at a play on words.
Already the conversation has started for us as we think about what it would mean to give up Lent this year. We know the season is a time of self-reflection and penitence, prayer and fasting, self-denial and preparation for resurrection. Abandoning Lent works in two ways.
First—if we are honest, Lent can be a dangerous time. People come to the church looking for discipline and a new way to live; they come to be challenged—prepared for the heartache and joy of the cross to come. The fallacy of Lent, and what we need to abandon, can occur when we contain the season to six weeks of intentionality and introspection rather than building a Lent that becomes a life.
To abandon Lent then is a call to resist the temptation of only practicing our faith and not living it.
Second—to abandon Lent means to truly confront and then abandon those practices that prevent us from true community—union not only with God and with our neighbors, but also with ourselves. To do this, we may need to abandon the familiarly of the fellowship on Sunday morning and follow Jesus down the path of introspection—to those places we have abandoned within ourselves. It is dangerous to meet Jesus in the dark places, to ask the same questions of ourselves that Jesus asks of his disciples, to accept Jesus’ radical touch. In these moments of utter truth and honesty, we find ourselves vulnerable enough to connect with the risen Christ as never before.

What is awaiting us is a journey. One that leads us into the deserted wilderness and through the garden of grief and up the mountain of debilitating pain only to end up at the empty tomb where we are greeted with the good news that life is ours. My hope as your pastor is that you will join me in this season of abandonment. That together we will abandon Lent and discover what Christ meant when he said, “That I am in the Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.”
After all, this is the journey of Easter, the pilgrimage of our faith. For 46 days we move beyond the shadow of our egos so the light of Christ that opened a tomb can open our eyes to the astonishing realization that we are in him, and thus in God and each other, and that, as Lady Julian said, all is well.
[Adam Quine, pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Lincoln]


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