Lent - Wondrous Encounters

Reading through Richard Rohr's, Wondrous Encounters, during Lent again this year.  As my wife and I have been reflecting on these short devotionals, I'm always left saying something like, "Wow, that's deep."  Usually, something as simple as the 'starter prayer' he uses at the end grabs me.  I blogged about one of these last year where Rohr invites us to pray, "God give me the desire to desire what you want me to desire."  Yeah, that's the kind of stuff I'm talking about.

Another of these starter prayers caught my attention the other day; it reads,
“God, what is it that you want me to let go of this Lent? Is it other than what I think?”
I have decided to "let go" or "give up" something this Lent.  I'll confess, I haven't always been disciplined about this.  I sort of grew up thinking Lent and all of the giving up of stuff was a Catholic thing.  Seriously.  I remember seeing folks with ashes on their heads and thinking, "Must be Catholic."  It never crossed my mind that this season was an opportunity for all Christians to focus on Jesus' journey to the cross and consider the cross we are to carry as we follow Jesus.

Anyway, I mentioned I've decided to give something up this Lent.  It's something that I thought would be tough to let go of, but I'm finding maybe it's just slightly annoying and not a major sacrifice.  I've given up COFFEE.  I wouldn't say I drink a ton of coffee everyday, but enough to feel the difference when I'm much less caffeinated.  And if I'm being honest, which I like to be, I'm a little more than cynical about the notion that somehow me giving up coffee - this sacrifice I'll make - is on par with Jesus' agonizing, torturous death on the cross.

Back to Rohr's prayer, “God, what is it that you want me to let go of this Lent? Is it other than what I think?”

Here's what I feel happening - why this starter prayer hooked me.  I'm seeing that I like the "idea" of drinking coffee more than I like the coffee itself.  I like the experience and the way it makes me feel.  I like the "idea" of going to Starbucks, knowing that the baristas know my drink before I order, and many even know me by name.  I like the "idea" of grabbing coffee with a student, a volunteer, a friend.  It feels somehow more intimate and genuine than grabbing a soda ever did.  Coffee, I guess I could say, has become some strange identity forming thing for me.  It's not just about the coffee and the impact of the caffeine in said coffee; it's about something bigger!

I've been hoodwinked!  I've been snagged by the idea that grabbing a cup of coffee with a specific label makes me sophisticated, smart, an aficionado of finely brewed caffeinated beverages.  I'm a coffee snob.  I complain when all they have on tap is Pike roast.  Yuck!  The allure of Starbucks.  Driving to church without going to Starbucks.  These are the "ideas" I have to let go of.  I am battling the possibility that I have fallen prey to really good marketing; after all, I am the proud owner of a Starbucks "Gold Card" since 2010!  Can I let go of my image as a coffee snob?  Can I let go of the ideas I have surrounding coffee, and the potentially negative identity forming habits I've developed?  I guess we'll see.  It's day 6 of Lent.  I've a long way to go.  I continue to pray the prayer, "God, what is it that you want me to let go of this Lent?  Is it other than what I think?"  Show me, Lord Jesus, and lead me to the cross.

What about you?  What is it that God is asking you to let go of this Lent, as you journey to the cross?  Is it other that what you think?

(BTW - there are several "Infographs" on the interwebs depicting the "Starbucks Experience."  I'm not making this stuff up, and I'm not crazy!  Yeah!)

1 comment:

Steve Martin said...

Wow! Giving up coffee! That's a rough one. God bless and help you get through it.

Check this one out (about giving up stuff):


It's a bit of a different twist on 'giving up' things for Lent.