It’s Ash Wednesday today. This is my 10th year observing Lent, these forty days a time of fasting and repentance, of remembering we are dust and to dust we shall return, of remembering the depth of my need for Jesus, of anticipating both death and resurrection. In years past, I’ve fasted from Facebook or blogging or certain foods or coffee. One year, I added in a bit more discipline around prayer. I usually observe the daily offices during Lent and this year will be no different.
But Lent isn’t about magic ashes, nor is it about giving stuff up in a sanctified New Year’s resolution for Jesus-people wanting to break caffeine habits or drop sugar. No, it’s about making space for mourning and justice, about anticipation and new life. Lent is making room for the death and the resurrection, and it’s about miracles and life.
But here now, first:
“This is the kind of fast day I’m after:
to break the chains of injustice,
get rid of exploitation in the workplace,
free the oppressed,
What I’m interested in seeing you do is:
sharing your food with the hungry,
inviting the homeless poor into your homes,
putting clothes on the shivering ill-clad,
being available to your own families.
Do this and the lights will turn on,
and your lives will turn around at once.
Your righteousness will pave your way.
The God of glory will secure your passage.
Then when you pray, God will answer.
You’ll call out for help and I’ll say, ‘Here I am.’
This is the fast I’ve chosen this year.
If you’ve read here for any length of time, you’ve seen the theme of “water” crop up many times. From baptism to new life, water to wine, walking on the water, the storms and stories, the cleansing and the life, water has always been my favourite metaphor for life in the Spirit.
For Valentine’s Day, we’re building wells in Bubanza with our SheLoves tribe. (And did you hear? Water is arriving today – check out my Facebook page for a picture!)
And so for Lent this year, I’ve decided to participate in Blood:Water Mission’s 40 Days of Water through the Deeper Story community.
For forty days, I will only drink water and I will also donate the money I would normally spend on my daily coffee or afternoon tea or weekend white wine to building a new well in Uganda. (I’m savouring this last Starbucks Americano right now, oh, Lord, you better believe it. My preciousssssssssss.)
As Nish wrote:
“For the 40 days of Lent, we have the opportunity to participate in glorious anticipation.
We anticipate the death and resurrection of Christ at Easter, God fulfilling His promise that all would be made right and new… and we anticipate the arrival of clean water for thousands of people in Uganda, who no longer have to fear death from simple health problems like diarrhea, parasites and water-borne illness.
This Lenten season, let’s anticipate LIFE as a community.
Life in resurrection, life in redemption, life in a simple glass of water.”
I also like to take time to pray more intentionally, particularly for my family, the Church worldwide, and my friends during Lent.
So can I pray for you?
If so, let me know in the comments. I can hold you up to Jesus, I can stand alongside you during Lent. What’s on your heart today?