I find Lent difficult. It coincides with my heaviest teaching period along with an increase in church related activity. As a result I feel like I don’t ‘do’ Lent terribly well. The grand notions of preparations for the great feast of Easter quickly devolve into survival mode. Keeping my head down and looking forward to the end of the relentless pace. This year I have definitely bitten off more than I can chew adding editing of a book I am working on into the mix.
And so I sit here considering the start of Holy Week. Wondering how I can make the most of it. What does it mean to celebrate Easter? Why do we commemorate this feast every year? Would we take it a little more seriously if we celebrated it less frequently? Would I prioritise my Lenten preparation a little better if it wasn’t an annual occurrence? Maybe, but I am not sure that that is the point.
Perhaps the real gift of my inadequate Lenten disciplines is that I discover that I am inadequate. I am not up to the task of saving my own soul. The annual reminder that Jesus offers the extraordinary gift of redemption to me just as I am is the good news of the gospel. I can never prepare sufficiently to receive that gift. I will never be a worthy recipient.
This isn’t false humility, or attention seeking. I am not looking for reassurance that actually I do really well. The point is that I do disappoint myself, I do fall short of my own expectations. I know that I am able to give a lot as well, and I am extremely grateful for my gifts and talents. Nevertheless, I enter Holy Week in the knowledge that I am not in the least deserving of the tremendous mystery we are to celebrate.
I am grateful that I am reminded of this each year. Because it means that I am reminded of the unfathomable generosity of God at least once a year.