|Just because I'm not Catholic doesn't|
mean I can't appreciate a good
set of prayer candles. Source.
You see, I'm a Protestant. I'm what you might call a 'cafeteria Protestant', since I pick and choose my practises from the buffet line of Christianity. (I wish I could claim that phrase as my own, but alas, I learned it from the internets many years ago.) Lent is something that I first put on my plate about 20 years ago, and every year I keep coming back round for another helping. However, I've always attended the sort of Protestant church that keeps no high church traditions, so I've been doing this on my own for a long time (although in the past few years, I've been a contact point for some of my Protestant friends who have ventured over for a peek at the Catholic menu and said, "I'll have some of that, too.").
But, not this year. I asked some of our friends at our new church (which is called Red River Church, by the way; I don't know if I've linked to it before) a couple of months ago if we do Lent at church, and they said, "Kinda. We don't really do it ourselves, though." (They weren't really speaking in unison, for all that they are newlyweds.) So I've no idea what to expect today. We might have a regular service, which would be just fine. We might do something different because it's Lent, which would be new and exciting for me. We might have a regular service with a reminder that it's the first Sunday of Lent, which would also be cool.
Whatever it is, I'm paying attention. I do my best, as I hope that all Christians do, to be attentive to what the Lord might be trying to teach me at all seasons, but there's something different about this season. I'm more intentional in my walk. I'm more aware of my own stumbles and missteps. It's during this time, year after year, that I realise just how many times a day I think about dumb stuff that doesn't matter. For example, the year I gave up TV for Lent, I thought I wasn't making that big of a sacrifice. I don't watch that much TV, anyway; surely I was being too easy on myself! Ha. That's the year I found out just how easily distracted I am, and just how many times a day I think about TV. It never fails, no matter what my chosen 'sacrifice' is.
I think that time could be better spent. That energy could be used in so many other directions. And that's what makes me especially grateful for Lent.
Do you practise Lent? Are you doing something special today?