by Ted Staton
Psalm 63.1 O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
Five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes a year – we all have this allotment – the young, the old, rich and poor, healthy and sick – all the same amount. So then, how are we supposed to find time to sit and think, much less to think of others during Lent?
I used to wonder about all this “giving up something for Lent” talk. The public schools in Baltimore were very Catholic compared to public schools in Georgia. Everyone “gave up something for Lent”. It was not until I became a United Methodist clergy student at Emory that I really began to piece together the puzzle. Without hope of finding more minutes in the day, I realized that I would need to give up some old, usual tasks to make room for the new ministries I wished to be in.
Probably the best Lent I have had was at Reinhardt College as Chaplain and teacher of Old Testament, New Testament, World Religions and Greek. Whew, I needed more free time to talk to students, faculty and staff. Then the idea hit me: I would give up lunch during Lent and place two folding chairs at the intersection of a bunch of sidewalks in the center of the campus. I sat in one. It worked – people who would never have knocked on the office door of the Chaplain, stopped to chat – Weather topics at first, then deeper, more theological topics… and I lost weight, too.
Like a sponge in a dry and weary land, our soul longs for time as though it were water. Giving up a task creates a type of time-vacuum that can then be filled with other things, more holy things.
I pray we seek and find a Holy Lent.
Prayer: Lord, we love you and seek you. Fill us with your Love. Amen