Let me explain. One of my wonderful sister friends who is also a pastor is in a new parish this year. When you get into a new church, especially when they haven’t had a pastor for a while, they tend to want to DO a lot of things.
I think this is our impulse for Lent as well. Even knowing all the extra things I have to *do* in the 46 days before Easter (YES, there are 46! The Sundays count!), I still have the urge to add something on or give something up. This is fine. Some years, this has really worked for me.
But I don’t know about this year.
I said recently in a sermon that it’s been four funerals and a wedding in the first two months of the year, and that is true and exhausting. One of those funerals was my stepbrother, who was 36 years old. I’m tired, and I just simply don’t want add anything on or give anything up.
But that’s okay.
My prophetic friend who has the new church? She decided that instead of DOing, that maybe they should just BE. Maybe before jumping into adding new programs or making all kinds of plans that they should just simply BE together, in the presence of God.
She envisions Bible study and prayer, not as part of a program, but as part of being Jesus to each other. Simply BE-ing.
For this Lent, this seems right to me. I want to just BE. I’m going to show up for worship and lead it sometimes. I’m going to show up on my yoga mat each day. I’m going to read my scripture and meditate on what it means for that day. I might even fast. But the second that any of those things turns into a “HAVE TO” or a “MUST” or a “JESUS WON’T LOVE ME UNLESS I” I’m quitting. I’m going to stop, and just BE.
This strikes me as very Lutheran. It’s hard, but all we have to do for God to love us is BE. That’s it.
Years ago, a spiritual director and friend told me that if I couldn’t talk to God, maybe I could envision God as a color, and just sit in the presence of that color.
I saw the color of the sunset, reds and golds and oranges, and even though I couldn’t talk to God at that time in my life, I could sit there with God. I could move into God’s presence, that beautiful color. I could BE.
And so if this year is like that for you, this is what I invite you into: Don’t DO anything. NOTHING! Just BE.