Sunday, March 1, 2009

Lent and the Sabbath

As many of you know, this last Wednesday was Ash Wednesday, marking the beginning of the Lent season. Growing up, Lent felt like an important part of the church calendar. It was a big deal to go to Ash Wednesday service. And an even bigger deal to talk about what thing we were going to give up or take on during Lent. As a kid and even as a teenager I often opted to give up something. Usually this involved something I loved like candy, Dr. Pepper, soda entirely, or the big one, chocolate. For those of you who may not be familiar with the tradition of giving something up or taking something on, it is a practice that is to help us refocus ourselves towards God. We give up something in order to have more time or room in our lives for God. Or we take something on that would bring us closer to God. In the past several years this practice has slipped away from me. While I still see Lent as an important part of preparing for Easter, I have often observed Ash Wednesday and than almost checked out until Holy Week.

This year I missed our Ash Wednesday service. Cai had a fever and I didn't want to take him to church and expose him to other kids. Turns out the fever was caused by teething, but it was still probably better to be safe. By the way, Cai now has one tooth. The front bottom right (his right). It may seem silly but missing Ash Wednesday makes me feel disoriented. So this week I felt like I should be doing something to help focus in on the Lent season, I just didn't know what. Today's worship service and sermon really hit me and has allowed me to focus in on how I might observe Lent this year. Our pastor's sermon was on practicing and observing the Sabbath. He talked about how in our culture other than attending church, Sunday does not look much different than Saturday. As he spoke I began to wonder what observing the Sabbath would look like in a world that is so busy. For me I can't imgine not working/doing things for a whole day. It feels like there is always something more to be done. So I wondered if maybe in our society a day of rest is not the answer. But rather moments of rest, little Sabbaths. And I wondered what that would look like. Than it hit me. This is what I could do this Lent. I could find a way to observe little Sabbaths.

My first thought was to not use the computer on Sunday. Well as I had all these ideas in my head and wanted to blog about them that didn't seem like it would work. Plus there is the fact that everyone is asleep and I want this time to goof off online. Sad? Maybe. My next idea was that I would pick a day of the week to say no computer. So this is what I'm going to do. For this Lent season on Monday and Friday I'm going to turn off the computer. I would turn it off the night before, but Mark runs updates at night and gets very upset if I turn off the computer. So first thing in the morning I will turn it off. And then leave it off all day. The trick will be to not be tempted to sit down in the evenings when Mark gets home and most likely turns it back on. :) I figure not having it on will mean I have time to do other things. I won't have my e-mail and discussion boards taking my attention and energy. The other thing I want to try to do is one night a week sit down and play a game or create art with Ian before bedtime. So often I'm caught up in cleaning up from lunch that I brush off his pleas to play. Then by the time I'm done it's time for bed. My hope is one night a week I can put off the clean up till after bedtime. That way he gets more of my attention and hopefully we can get Mark in on it too and we can all enjoy each other. These may seem like small things. And I know that they may not seem like a Sabbath. But my hope is that by doing these small things I will indeed create a sense of rest for that time and place. I hope you too can find ways to observe even small moments of rest in your lives this Lent season.

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