Greg's Weekly Word: "Lent"
We are now one week into this season of prayer and fasting, self-examination and self-denial.
We begin with Ash Wednesday and move towards Palm Sunday and Holy Week, journeying with Jesus to the cross. Typically, the season of Lent is a time to reflect on our mortality and humanity, and recommit ourselves to the way of Jesus in the 40 days leading up to Easter.
The name of the season itself - Lent - comes from a root that means "to lengthen," and became associated with the lengthening of the days in the spring.
But lent can also be the past tense or past participle of the verb "to lend." As in, to loan or give something to someone to use for a time. "I lent him my jacket since it was cold and he didn't have one." (Or book, like below...)
Which has made me wonder how we would approach this season differently if we thought of it as a time we lent (back) to God. Of course, all time - each moment - is a gift from God to us. But what if, just to reorient ourselves, we approached these weeks of Lent as time that we are giving to God - for these 40 days - to be used by God? Offering our days and our hours, our words and thoughts and actions, each aspect of our lives to God to put them to use for God's purposes (instead of our own)?
I don't know about you, but whenever I've lent someone something, after a while I don't even really need or want it back for myself. Maybe I realize I didn't really need it, or that it would be better used by the Other. I may even find a joy in allowing the Other to have it and use it.
In any case, after a certain period of time, whatever I have lent shifts from something I am expecting back and to something that is simply given. A manifestation of grace.
How long does that typically take? It's probably different for each of us. But if we want to find out, 40 days is a pretty good start.