As we enter into the season of Lent, #FuckThisShit will have a limited series called #LentLite. The content for #LentLite will not be as structured as the Advent devotional, nor will it be daily. Some of the previous contributors are returning to offer brief reflections about their experience with #FuckThisShit during Advent, and how devotional has impacted them in this Lenten season.
“Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”
These are going to be hard words to hear on Ash Wednesday. Life is fleeting, and in the days leading us to the wilderness, the proclamation feels just a bit too real.
When I served as a parish pastor, I would weep at the imposition of the ashes every. single. year. Taking my ash-covered thumb and marking the foreheads of so. many. people. felt emotionally, spiritually, and physically distressing. To have part of the cycle that includes death, grief, and repentance staring you right in the face, seeing that on a friend’s face, a partner’s face, a spouse’s face, a child’s face, and knowing it’s on our face… these are the wages of sin and death becoming far too personal. This makes my heart skip a beat. This makes the breath of life get caught in my chest for a moment, thinking about what it means to have those ashes on someone’s forehead.
The breath of life has been caught in my chest far too often in these days approaching Lent. Seeing the amount of sin and death in the world today takes me back to that Advent prayer of, “…fuck this shit. Or rend the heavens and come down.” My sense of the liturgical calendar is now confused because I lived so much into Advent, it seems to be bleeding into every liturgical season yearning for the Christ who is, for the Christ who was, and for the Christ who will be to come again.
I wonder if we’ve driven God into the wilderness?
I feel like it’s going to be a long wait.
Waiting for Christ to come again… I feel like it is going to be a long wait. An uncomfortable wait. Especially in these days. Instead of forty days, this new sense of Lent could last four years… or forty years. While Advent has its own way of marking time to wait for the arrival of the Christ child, Lent has the historical practice of taking on a particular discipline, a way to mark the time of the long forty days. This marking of time is to acknowledge the wandering of the Israelites in the desert for forty years and Jesus’s forty days in the wilderness resisting temptation. What will you do in this season of discomfort? What will be not just your Lenten practice, but your practice to fight the powers of this world and of Empire, especially with the current days being marked with acts of violence against a number of marginalized groups?
So. Many. Beloveds.
Holy dwelling places of God are being threatened and destroyed in the name of Empire. How will you wait in the midst of the discomfort, yet finding what gives you the breath of the Spirit of God at the same time?
What has given me comfort as of late, leading into this time of the reflection on the wages of sin and death that feel far too real? The ultimate vulnerability of God incarnate… on the cross. That God encounters the awfulness, the horrific nature of death, and this is the ultimate abiding of God with us. This is the ultimate way of God knowing and living, and dying our experiences.
In this true abiding with God, death can go to hell.