April 3, 2021

What’s the Big Deal?

April 3, 2021

By Steve Schaffer

Both my wife, Marilyn, and I are preacher’s kids.  We’ve pretty much seen church stuff from both within and from without…a lot of good, for sure, but sometimes a little not so good.  When I began thinking about Lent again this year, my first (young man’s) impulse was “Oh, man!  Seen it, been there, done that so many times.  Here we go again.” (sigh) 

My frame of mind was a combination of impatience and frustration.  Impatience because I guess I just wanted to get past Lent and get on with life.  Frustration because I knew I was really obligated to take time to afford Lent this so-called Christian’s attention.  One would think that a person with all that churchiness in his background would know and appreciate exactly what Lent means.  In Joe Pennel’s parlance, Lent is worth pondering.

One conclusion my subsequent mental munching brought forward was that Lent seems to be a time when the past, the present, and the future are brought together in a rather unique way.  We reflect upon the past as we recall the brutal and bloody times in which Jesus lived.  We remember the pain he endured and the sacrifice he made for us.  Here in the present, we can be humbled and thankful for the blessings bestowed upon us and for the simple fact that Jesus once walked this earth changing it for the better as had no other.  Then there is the future.  Lent is a time of expectation, a time to look ahead.  We anticipate the celebration of His resurrection on Easter Sunday, and with just a bit of introspection, we can consider ways that perhaps we might reinvent ourselves to become more Christlike.

In my young man’s way of thinking I would ask “What’s the big deal?”  But age (73) does funny things to us both outside and inside.  Now I realize Lent really is a big deal.  It’s a special time to reflect, to revere, to redouble our efforts and to recommit.  Just maybe, instead of trying to plow through Lent and put it in the rearview mirror, I should keep that more currently minted Lenten mentality all through the year.  If we all did that, don’t you think it would make Jesus smile?