Today marks an important day in the Christian Calendar. Yes, we have one of those. This is the first day of the season of Lent, which leads up 40 days to Holy Week and ultimately Easter, where we celebrate Christ's conquering death. Some of you may have participated in this before, but for some this is a totally foreign concept.
Typically, Lent begins on Ash Wednesday (today) and we put burnt ashes of the palm branches from Palm Sunday of the year prior on our foreheads as reminders of our brokenness and the sacrifice of the King Jesus who rode into Jerusalem on palm branches and coats. Then, as we depart, we ponder in silence how we might fast over the next forty days.
People typically see this time as New Years Resolution Part 2. This is when I'll stop eating sweets. This is when I'll give up soda. We see it as an opportunity to gain something for ourselves via the act of giving something up in our routine. This is problematic for many reasons, but here's the big point: what we replace our time with matters. Fasting isn't the chance for your latest fitness trend. We fast as a means to make room in our lives... for God. Not more of our own egos.
As a challenge to you nerds, geeks, and gamers, don't give up something for Lent. Instead invite God into your favorite game, your favorite fandom, your favorite passion. Leave the door open a smidge and invite God into what makes you you. The church has a bad habit of keeping God out. Let's take this Lenten season and allow God in for once. See where God shows up.
God loves you. I love you. You matter.
Be boldly blessed, folks!