Friday, February 24, 2012

A Lenten Reflection on Starbucks

Do you love your Starbucks?
A Lenten Reflection

“…I preached that they should repent and turn to God and demonstrate their repentance by their deeds.” Acts 26:20b
I really like Lent!

Some of you might think this an odd statement. And some of you don’t practice Lent in any way.

But as for me, well usually about this time of year, I’ve gotten a little sloppy. By mid-February or early March, I’m tending toward too much Starbucks, too much sugar, too many baked goods, and too little fresh, healthy food in its natural whole state. I usually feel in need of a spiritual jolt around this time too. My prayers tend to grow as lackluster as the weather. And I could use more intentional time with God. Some of my behaviors, reactions, and attitudes seem to need a tune up. And I could also use a little self denial.

I welcome this season of following my church traditions of fasting and abstinence, along with some added activity (this has taken many forms over the years—more service, prayer, reflection, time alone with God) or an act of sacrifice (saying no to myself, giving up a food, action, or beverage that has become too easy or too frequent an indulgence).

Over the years, I may have been judged for what I’ve given up. Take Starbucks as a particularly good example. I understand the thinking. While people are literally dying of starvation, I’m giving up an almost $5 cup of coffee, Big deal. But that’s part of the point, I am consuming something with more frequency than I care to admit, without much thought to how much it costs. It’s a bit of a mindless addiction, a luxury I take for granted. It’s a treat I go out of my way to get, sometimes at the expense of higher priorities.

So for me, no Starbucks for Lent is, if not a sacrifice, a reminder of the plenty I enjoy. Not to indulge in this daily delight gives me some pause. And I try to use that moment to pray a little more, to be grateful for all that I have, to be more mindful of all those who suffer from hunger and thirst, literally and figuratively.
I am so deeply grateful for the life of Jesus, freely given over to death so that I can live. The practice of Lent in preparation for the blessed celebration of the resurrection of Christ, Easter, may not be the grandest of measures. Still, it’s an opportunity to remember, to commemorate, to be thoughtful.

That’s why I really like Lent.

How about you? Do you observe Lent in some way? Or not? Do you prepare for the coming of Easter ? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

7 comments:

  1. I look forward to Lent. I love Lent. I love the way it stops us in our tracks and punctuates the next 40 days. I love to quantify and keep track. Lent does this as well. There is a beginning and and end to Lent which makes whatever you choose to do during Lent, doable. It's not too long; it's not too short. It is just right.
    But what I need from Lent is more than numbered days. I need the humility, sacrifice, penance, time on my knees, and examination of who I am as an adult Christian. An adult Christian ready to prepare for the gift of the greatest sacrifice and most powerful miracle of hope that is the essence of our faith...my faith. The death and Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Where would I be without the power of the Resurrection...the Lord knows some days we need it more than others but everyday is a day for hope...His compassions are new every morning...
    I like the fasting idea ever since I understood that it is designed to have you lean on the Lord...not to lose a few pounds and get lean, ha! We can do without, because He is always within...we can survive, because He is our survival...step by step we can draw closer to Him because He lights our path...all things are possible...
    I have recently embraced the idea of fasting from negative thoughts. I fast from thoughts of financial trouble, or health worries for my parents, or future direction for my children...instead I turn these into prayer. A very cool and new approach to fasting which also draws us closer to our Lord...be anxious in nothing but in all things through prayer and supplication...
    I welcome the discipline of Lent, the structure of the days, the awareness of the feelings from fasting and the dependency on the flesh, the leaning on the Lord...and then the contrast and bright light of the Resurrection. The glorious Resurrection anchoring us to the eternal Hope in our sweet Lord Jesus...and in all our tomorrows with Him.

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    1. Beautifully put, B! Thanks for leaving such a thoughtful comment. I love the idea that we can do without, because He is always within. Powerful reminder. Help me Lord to live in that truth. And what an excellent idea...turning our worries immediately into prayer. I'm sure that would have me praying much more. Lent is also a mighty reminder of Philippians 3:8, "What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ..." Bless you B and thanks again for commenting!!

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  2. What a blessing of sacrifice. Great blog to read during this Lenten season. Love Chris

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  3. I also love Lent, I love the reminder to stop and to make changes (whether adding or subtracting something in your life), and I love that it is communal, we do it together in a bigger context and with support from others who are fasting in various ways. I'm pondering what it means to have "enough" this Lent season, which means foregoing certain luxuries as well. And yes, being aware of these luxuries (whether it's Starbucks or a pair of new shoes) , and sacrificing them is a part of Lent. Blessings on your journey!

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    1. Funny...the other day I was talking to God about enough. In fact, I think that will be my next blog. What is enough? When is enough, enough? How much does it take me to say thank you, that's enough. I have a feeling I'll discover I have way more than enough!!

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  4. I have never observed lent before but I am thinking it might be good to start. I have always thought along the lines of what more I could be doing to please God. What really I should be asking myself what do I run to instead of Him and be willing to give that up until I form better habits of seeking him first. I wonder what God will bring to my attention...

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