349 days ago, I participated in Lent for the first time. Although I have called myself a follower of Jesus for over 20 years, I never realized the historical significance of Lent in the Church until a few years ago. For those of you who are unaware, Lent is an observance of the 40 days leading up to Easter, starting with Ash Wednesday (today). One who participates in Lent engages in prayer and remembrance about what Jesus did for us on the cross, and engages in tangible devotion by fasting during Lent…thus mimicking what Jesus did before the beginning of His earthly ministry.
Typically, we fast from certain foods or behavior that may otherwise distract us from thinking about the salvation made possible by Christ’s sacrifice, and the hope we have through His resurrection. Sweets, social media, television, YouTube…you name the most popular comfort or social addiction items in culture, and someone around the world is probably fasting from it during Lent. Last year, I gave up Chipotle. I am giving it up again this year…but for a different reason.
I gave up Chipotle last year because – as most of you know, and ridiculous it may seem – I am wholly and completely obsessed with the restaurant and their products of sweet burrito goodness. It was a valuable experience that actually prompted a blog post (see “why taste buds might be overrated”).
This year, I’m not giving up Chipotle to necessarily deprive myself of my borderline addiction. I’m giving it up to erase a label.
Many people know me as the crazy kid from Arizona who would constantly eat for free if Chipotle offered a frequent-eater program. Perhaps my vision is a bit grandiose…but what if people knew me more for my authentic, messy journey of following Jesus, and investing in the next generation by working with students?
Whether or not that shift in my public/social persona occurs, that is the basis for my fast during Lent this year. Hopefully, I’ll be able to write some more blogs soon relating to my true passion, which really has nothing to do with ingredients shoved in a tortilla.
My question to you during this liturgical season is: what is your public label? What would it take for your faith journey with Christ to take the place of that label? This world honors authenticity, but usually rebels and slanders our called purpose to pursue the One who redeemed us from despair.
Think about how those two things interact during this Lent season.
“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.”