The Lord has done great things, we are filled with joy! Psalm 126:2
Happy Lent! Now that wasn’t what you were expecting to read was it! Lent and happy don’t usually go in the same sentence for most folks. We tend to look at Lent as a season of discipline, denial, repentance and sacrifice; none of those being very pleasant thoughts. Maybe we need to look at Lent with a new perspective.
Each Tuesday in my classroom we have a Tuesday Tune. The songs I pick are meant to teach a lesson. I pick all kinds of music; Christian, Secular, rap, country you name it, it could be a Tuesday Tune. After we play it and watch the YouTube video that goes with it, the middle lovelies begin to pick it apart finding words and meanings that draw us closer to the Father. Sometimes we listen to the song as if we are singing it to Jesus or sometimes as if he’s singing it to us. I’m often very amazed at the meanings they draw from a simple song. In preparation for Lent I picked a really unique song this week. The song I chose was in a clip from Sister Act 2. It was the scene where Jamal and the choir sang O Happy Day. The beginning of the song is so hesitant and it seems like the characters are being forced into the performance and they have no enthusiasm or energy only blah and un-invested participation. As the song goes on however they pick up momentum and end the song with excitement, electricity and joyfulness. I asked the kids to compare their performance to Lent and they were full of ideas. The whole purpose of Lent is to draw nearer to Jesus…isn’t that sort of a happy, joyful thing? Hence, the song, O Happy Day because Ash Wednesday is just that…a happy day. It’s the day that begins a 40 day journey leading to an amazing place…the Pascal Mystery; the passion, death, resurrection and Ascension of Jesus.
Every act of sacrifice we make during Lent can be thought of as a gentle kiss on the cheek of the Savior we love. We aren’t expected to take the torture; He already did that for us, he is simply asking us to remove or at least try to go around or hop over those things that separate us from him. I thought as we began to think of Lent as a time of joyful preparation I’d offer just a few new things to “give up” during Lent. Pope Francis in his Tuesday morning tweet said: “Don’t give up booze, chocolate and carbs again, do something merciful and powerful!” So per his instruction, give these a try and…Happy Lent!
*Give away one thing each day of Lent (clothes, appliances, toys, books etc.)
*Give up the snooze button…go ahead and get up and use those 5 or 10 minutes to read the Gospels a little bit at a time.
*Give up being right and first…let others talk more, take a backseat or parking spot near the back of the lot.
*Give up some precious time…babysit someone else’s kids for free.
*Give up gossip, judging, complaining and frequently sharing your opinion.
*Give away flowers each week to someone who needs a boost.
*Give up a little hot water in your shower.
*Give some time to an elderly or lonely person, go for a visit and share a cup of coffee and pray together.
*Give up some texting and trade it for real phone conversation and end the chat with “God bless you”
A Seed To Plant: Go ahead…just try one of the things from the list. For a little extra Lenten joy, pick the one you think is hardest and start there. If you don’t like these google Lent ideas and you’ll find a zillion other choices. Just DO Lent joyfully and Easter will be amazing. Go to YouTube and watch Oh Happy Day to get yourself started!
Blessings on your day!
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