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Monday, April 09, 2007

The Long Awaited Prize

Happy Easter Season! I'm back. Through the desert and into the promised land. I've never been so happy to reach Easter Sunday than I am this year. When you put your all into Lent, with as little cheating as possible, your do experience joy come Sunday, regardless of the size of your Easter basket. I think back on my Methodist upbringing and I can't imagine an Easter without the emphasis on Lent. I mean beyond the, "I'm giving up chocolate ice cream, tee hee hee." type of Lent. A Lent focused on penance, fasting and alms giving. A Lent spent meditating on the passion of our Lord. A Holy Week spent at Church. We can't exclaim with joy, 'Christ the Lord is Risen!', if we haven't spent time with Mary at the foot of the cross. There is no Easter Sunday without Good Friday. My protestant upbringing took the corpus from the cross and Easter preparation wasn't called Lent; it consisted of shopping for new clothes, a ham and milk chocolate rabbits. How meaningless it all seems now. How empty. As a child, I thought Christmas was more important than Easter because I got more presents. My religious views were shaped by consumerism. My husband and I try extra hard to make holy days more than occasions for gift giving, but we're looked at as strange because we don't stock up on peanut butter eggs. As if my children miss out on the joy of the season because I stiffed them some Peeps. If we can't convey to children the awesomeness of Christ's resurrection without resorting to candy and trinkets, we've failed.
The trick now though, is to not fall back into old habits; habits I've learned I'm better off without. To not turn from fasting to gluttony, from moderation to excess because 'I deserve it after all I've done.' Like returning to sin is the long awaited prize. I can make do with so much less and be happy, so why not stick to those good habits? The only problem is, it sets the bar that much higher for next Lent. May our Lenten sacrifices, bear great fruit throughout Easter and beyond.
Clear out the old yeast, so that you may become a fresh batch of dough, inasmuch as you are unleavened. For our paschal lamb, Christ, has been sacrificed. Therefore let us celebrate the feast, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
1 Corinthians 5:7-8