Friday, March 2, 2018

Unusual Lenten Disciplines

At some point in the past week, I realized that I'd forgotten one of my Lenten traditions:  Nouwen's Show Me the Way, a book of readings for Lent.  There have been years since I first got the book where I stopped reading it midway through Lent, but I think this may be the first year that I didn't start at all.  Since we're almost halfway through Lent, I don't think I'll start now.

Maybe I will look back and see this Lent as a time of strange disciplines:  there's the discipline of hospitality, as by the end of this Lenten season, we'll have had houseguests, dinner guests, book group guests--every week-end with a different set of guests.

Or maybe it will be the Lent of many vigils:  a discipline suitable for a Lent that begins with a school shooting on Ash Wednesday.  The week after the shootings, I went to two vigils.  The Saturday before Palm Sunday, I plan to attend a march against violence that will incorporate the school where the shooting occurred.

Some years, I've adopted somber art projects, but this year, I've unintentionally adopted a whimsical approach.  Can you spot the Easter egg that doesn't belong?

Yes, I'm delighting in mixing seasons and holidays, both on my desk and on my porch.

These aren't the kinds of disciplines we think of when we talk about our Lenten disciplines.  I haven't given up something like sugar or caffeine for Lent.  I haven't added rigorous reading.  I'm not adopting a new prayer practice.

And yet, my unusual Lenten disciplines have enriched my Lent in a way I wouldn't have anticipated.  My lack of usual Lenten disciplines keeps the season of Lent front and center in my brain--even as I'm worrying about my lack of Lenten observation.

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