Feeling Lenty

Thursday morning was a beautiful morning for me. And the thing is, even though I know that using words to describe it will not really work, and will only come off as cheesy; and it also won't even come close to capturing the glory of the morning...I feel compelled to share it anyway.
I was talking to a friend Thursday morning saying that I just wasn't feeling very "lenty" during this season of Lent. Often Lent is really important for me in terms of connecting with God and awakening my spiritual life. This time, I didn't add any practices (I usually add something instead of giving something up), and I just kind of went through the days as usual. But I noticed that the newest Speaking of Faith (NPR's weekly, hour-long show on faith and values; not necessarily Christian, just faiths in general) in my podcast inbox was an Armenian Orthodox man (Vigen Goroian) speaking about "Restoring the Senses: Life, Gardening, and an Orthodox Easter." So, on my morning walk, Vigen and Krista Tippet (the host of the show) accompanied me. For some reason, when they started talking about Easter, and senses, and new life, I almost immediately started crying.
See, I think the problem is, it's very common in the Western Church (and my particular congregation) to focus on Lent and Good Friday and Easter being about our yucky sinfulness and Jesus dying for our sins. And it's not like I don't believe in that at all...but the legalistic way of thinking about this time just doesn't capture me like it used to. It's not a metaphor that resonates with me on a deep level anymore. Partly it's because I just don't feel all this guilt anymore about my sinfulness; so this whole legal transaction way of thinking about the cross and Easter, well, on an emotional level it just rings hollow. HOWEVER...looking at it on other levels, really really speaks to me. Like, looking at the power of God to bring life out of death, both in my individual life and in the world that so desperately needs new life in so many ways. And seeing how the killing of Jesus reveals so much about human brokenness (that we would kill someone like Jesus), and Jesus resurrecting redeems that brokenness. Redemption, New Life, God triumphing over death/evil...the need for those things really resonates with me.
So as I was walking, and listening to Vigen talk about using all of our senses to experience Lent and Easter, I found a kumquat on the ground right on the sidewalk in front of me, even though there was no kumquat tree anywhere I could see. It was a perfect shade of bright orange, and I could squeeze it and smell a lovely citrus smell. It was just such a perfect addition to the love and hope and beauty I was feeling toward the world--and it was awakening my senses. So I just held it and smelled it for a mile or so.

Then I saw this tree--and it was just one of those moments where the beauty of everything was just overwhelming and real. And not in a sappy way. But there's no way to really explain it in words.

So anyway. Now I am more ready for Easter. I'm feeling more "lenty." Thanks to Vigen and to the common, remarkable beauties of God's creation. Happy Easter.

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Blogger Trent said...

Bethany, we're (oh, sorry, I'm the online editor for SOF) so pleased that you could find delight and rediscover some of the mystery that is part of the season of Lent.

I really enjoyed working on this program b/c so much of what Vigen said reminded me of my mother-in-law and the beauty she finds in gardening. All of her family -- a Germans from Russian farming family -- always take me straight to their garden (their "bonanzas") when I stop by. The circumstances of their upbringing and the harsh climates they live in dictate that they be very pragmatic, but in the case of their gardens they just might splurge and lavish themselves with something magical that doesn't fit a utilitarian need.

6:28 PM  
Blogger mishabomb said...

Bethany! Happy Easter, my friend. HE IS RISEN! We win, we win....

12:11 PM  

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