New Perspectives: Lenting – by Rev. Heather McCarrel

A clergyman, a doctor and a time-management guru were playing golf together one day. Soon they got stuck behind a particularly slow group ahead of them. The time-management guy said, ‘What’s with these people? We’ve been waiting on the tee for more than 30 minutes and they’re still not on the next green!”

The doctor agreed, “They’re hopeless. I’ve never seen such rambling around a golf course.”

The clergyman spotted the approaching greenskeeper and asked him what was going on. “What’s happening with that group ahead of us? They’re surely too slow and useless to be playing, aren’t they?”

The greenskeeper replied, “Oh, yes, that’s a group of blind fire-fighters. They lost their sight saving our clubhouse from a fire last year, so we always let them play for free anytime.”

The three golfers fell silent for a moment. Then the clergyman said, “Oh dear, that’s so sad. I shall say some special prayers for them tonight.”

The doctor added, rather meekly, “That’s a good thought. I’ll get in touch with an ophthalmic surgeon friend of mine to see if there’s anything that can be done for them.”

After pondering the situation for a few seconds, the time-management expert turned to the greenskeeper and asked, “Why can’t they play at night?”

This joke reminds me of the Lenten Season.  Or, to be more specific, it reminds me of those who impatiently rush through the 40 days of Lent missing out on the gifts of the season. An example of this is the time-management expert who missed out entirely on the beauty of the moment.

The Season of Lent begins on Wednesday February 22nd marking the 40 days and nights that Jesus spent in the desert fighting off temptation.  He was hungry and most likely exhausted when he came toe to toe with the biggest temptations life offers; gluttony, ego, materialism, and willfulness against God.  Through knowledge of scripture, divine wisdom and depth of faith he not only triumphs but God sends angels to tend to him.

The gifts of Lent are self-reflection, silent correction and a redirection of our pathways.  It is an opportunity to decide what we keep from our past, what we appreciate in our present life and what we look forward to in the new beginnings promised by God.  As Rev. Dr. N.T. Wright writes, “Lent is a time for discipline, for confession, for honesty, not because God is mean or fault- finding or finger-pointing but because he wants us to know the joy of being cleaned out, ready for all the good things he now has in store.”

May we all take time during this most sacred season to prepare ourselves for the good things God has in store.