kind of war. If you participate in it at all you’ll realize how counter cultural the whole thing is, how defiant it is of the prevailing order of things. In a gluttonous culture you decide to fast. In a promiscuous culture you stand for chastity. In a consumerist culture you decide to share. In a culture of immediacy you choose to see eternity. Face it, Lent is making war on just about everything American pop society values.
So why should you be surprised when the whole thing decides to push back? Think of the sheer amount of money invested in you being promiscuous, gluttonous, greedy, and self-centered. Whole industries would collapse if the spirit of Lent caught on in the general population. Important people would lose their jobs. Politicians would be out of power. A whole political – economic system that thrives on human depravity would fall into disuse.
That’s why it’s easier to stigmatize you as a relic, someone out of touch with the “real” world, a throwback to a less civilized time. If someone asks questions they may not get the answers our world has predetermined to be correct. If someone stands back from the whole mess and sees that it really is a mess they might consider opting out. If the emperor really is naked then the people selling us invisible clothes will stop having their sway. What will the plantation owner do if the slaves taste freedom and decide to act on it?
So they tell you its a burden, an unrealistic expectation, even a kind of oppression. Lent is warfare. Lent is the animal looking up from trough and slaughter and seeing the sun beyond the pen. Lent is the realization there is so much more than toys and games and endless work to pay for it all. For the price of a little less food we get to see eternity. For the sacrifice of moments we would waste in front of the TV we get to experience the presence of God. For 40 days, we get to taste authentic life, which is what, when you boil it down, the Kingdom of God actually is.
Yet don’t except this without a fight. Your soul is on the line and you can give it to God or sell it on the open market for the next new gadget.
Do the right thing.