Mostly I gave up meat for Lent.
Or to put it another way, I gave up meat (mostly) for Lent.
And this is how Lent often goes and the difference I think isn’t usually that it doesn’t go that way but that it’s OK when it does. Not that it’s OK to give our word and take it back, to put our hands to the plows and turn again, but that we begin to understand how relationships work and they include space for such things.
This probably doesn’t sound passingly strange.
We’re there or heading there and even if the latter we’re aware of it.
It’s something we’ve lived in other areas of life, something we’ve heard of in this one. I think it ties into a second element of Lent, which is the so-common occurrence of over-promising and under-delivering with several givings-up and addings-in. So instead of failing in one area, we aim for a whole mess and miss all.
We chase several rabbits and catch none.
This too, least for me, least for this Lent, is mostly turning out … OK.
In fact, just at the moment I can’t remember all that I laid out before it began. I recall there were many … I just don’t know which ones. This second and different and related approach to Lent is also common, so common it’s now a regular pastoral anecdote in pre-Lent preaching. At least for me; at least for this Lent.
These two bring a third experience of Lent.
The one main thing, and a bunch of other stuff, and failing at them.
Operating together, and the results of that — which because they’ll be individual to each of us cannot be named and shouldn’t be if they could, because we’re individuals and God loves us this way even when it really isn’t what we want (can’t we just be like everyone else, Lord? They have pretty good lives … ).
This lyric Lent is a warpy woofy wonder.
Not a wandering. There is too much form to it, like poetry and song.
We may have heard of the Dance. For the Trinity, it is said, dance together. It’s called perichoresis, and it refers to how they live and move and have their being within and among each other. They move smoothly and intentionally and beautifully, giving and receiving, here stepping in, here stepping aside, always love.
I think they also sing among and within.
At least they’re singing to me: minor fall, major lift, baffled king, all.
The lilting leads to learning: it’s surpassingly established that hearing something as a tune enhances how we hear it at all, and whether we remember it later. So we have the major effort, and several minor parts, and none of them seem to work quite right on their own but all of them, ups and downs, work together.
And then, near the end, we see the song.
And it wasn’t what we’d been singing all along. Though it was, as well.
And we learn there was something else entirely that all the parts were pointing to. That all the parts were parts of, and that is the whole, and the wholly other, and therefore the holy: and (as usual) it’s not just all those parts equaling the sum of the whole. They are, in the shopworn phrasing, more than that sum of all.
For me it’s about clinging to God.
For you, well … listen to the song.