“For you are dust, And to dust you shall return,” Genesis 3:19b.
Lent started on Wednesday. For many, even some Christians, it was just another day. But it begins a season I mark every year now.
As a child, I didn’t work very hard at Lent. I’d decide to give up potato chips until there were some potato chips around. Then I’d switch to something else, like chocolate. And then, to something else. I was like Huck Finn deciding what not to steal today.
Then for many years, I didn’t mark Lent at all.
I don’t remember when I started again–maybe a decade ago. My discipline about food hadn’t advanced far from what it was when I was a child. I ate too many potato chips when they were there. And too much of anything made of sugar any chance I could get.
I wasn’t overweight–or not seriously so. I’d bounced around within 20 pounds or so since hitting 40. But Lent isn’t about weight control. It isn’t a diet plan. It’s a desire to work with God to get control of food. To keep food from controlling me. To honor Him in what and how I eat.
It was about discipline and sacrifice–albeit small sacrifice. The discipline isn’t just one of physical appetite. There is a spiritual element in all we do.
And in sacrifice, we acknowledge that we aren’t in heaven yet. Today is a place where sometimes we partake and sometimes we abstain. It’s a place where we do better when we don’t have it all. But it’s hard because what we want is all around us. All we want. All the time.
Everywhere we look. So we need discipline and with it comes sacrifice.
The discipline and sacrifice remind us.
Lent reminds us heaven is ahead of us. We are not there yet.
Lent reminds us that He carried a cross.
He walked that way.
He is the way–for us.
In the meantime, we work. We struggle at times. We remember that our essence was not made for this world.
We can only imagine heaven. We yearn for it. We even confuse this world with it sometimes.
Only one dwelled there and then came here.
He did not have to imagine. He knew. Yet He came and sacrificed Himself for us.