October 09, 2019 | Reflections | Lent by Reverend Cheryl A. E. Parris
Do you need a ‘Do Over?’
Let me let you in on a secret: some people begin their Lent on Ash Wednesday, but some people wait until the first Sunday in Lent. Oftentimes, Lent seems to spring up on people unexpectedly, a bit like Daylight Savings Time. Surprise!
People are busy living their lives and so, when Ash Wednesday comes around,
suddenly the proverbial light bulb goes off and they think, “Gosh, I need to do
something for Lent.” Then there is a rush trying to figure out what ‘do something’ actually means (a topic for another reflection!).
Sometimes, for some of us, the First Sunday in Lent is a more of a Lenten reboot. Perhaps you can relate to someone who decides to do something beginning on Ash Wednesday and has slipped up by Friday; they need to ‘get back on the wagon’ four days later by the first Sunday. I call that a ‘Do Over.’
We all need a Do Over every once in a while, not just in Lent, but many times,
throughout every year. One of the great life lessons from taking on a Lenten
discipline is the feeling of falling and failing. We fall off the wagon, we fail at
something we presumed would be easy to do. Perhaps in previous Lents, you
forgot to pray a special devotion, or to fast; perhaps you have already strayed
from the promises you made for yourself this Lent. Can you relate? I know I can.
Well, whether you have been surprised by Lent and are scrambling to do something or if you have already confessed your sins and are ready to the hard work of reconciliation, it is no secret we all need some Do Overs in our lives. It is not the mess ups or the failings or the failures, (which are an inevitable part of this mortal life) it is our willingness when (not if) we stumble, to have the humility and conviction to do the work involved in a proper Do Over, reconciling ourselves to each other and to God. To stand up after falling or failing, to do something over -what an opportunity we are given!