Lent 5 passion

Have you ever hired a skip-bin? I wonder if, like me you hire it in a burst of enthusiasm. A clean-up is overdue and all the clutter is going! But as the items are heaved into the skip, hesitation begins. I find myself hovering at the skip’s side wondering, “What if I need that again?” Tossing out obviously dangerous or broken stuff is easy, but then it gets harder.

The period of Lent is often portrayed as a clean-up in the life of followers of Jesus. We are encouraged to be intentional about seeking time away from busyness, to examine our lives in the light of Jesus’s love and sacrifice for us, and to “get rid” of unhelpful or damaging attitudes and behaviours.

I am enjoying the approach of the Lenten studies “ Gratitude and Grace” we are using this year. The writers, Lynda Patterson and Peter Carrell, draw our attention to what Jesus offers us. So far we have covered transformation, inclusion, wholeness, and grace; the promise of resurrection is this week’s topic. Unwritten but implied is that if we allow ourselves to be filled with gratitude for Jesus gifts to us, there will be little room for the unhelpful attitudes or damaging lifestyles. It’s as if gratitude flows in, filling us up, leaving no room for the rest. I much prefer this image of being filled with something life-giving and new to the giving up or throwing away image of previous Lenten exhortation. Both require discipline but living in awareness of gratitude to Jesus feels much more like the abundance of life that Jesus came to bring.

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