Today is the first day of Lent, and about the only thing that I have done to celebrate was to eat pancakes last night for Fat Tuesday (Is that a real tradition? I think it was just an excuse my friends gave so we could go eat pancakes.) I missed Fuller’s chapel this morning where they had an Ash Wednesday service. I really needed to go running w/ Jonathan this morning. I’ve been getting antsy. And fat. (Those pancakes certainly didn’t help.)
I plan on participating in this Lenten weblog devoted to reflections on Miroslav Volf’s new book, Free of Charge. I got the book for free for being part of the Emergent Conversation with Volf in early February. The book is the official 2006 Lenten Devotional as designated by the Archbishop of Canterbury. It’s an important book for our day and age, dealing with issues of giving and forgiving, both of which are very difficult for those of us mired in the modern world. Yet these are central concepts of our Christian faith. I encourage you all to get this book… Exclusion and Embrace is amazing, but this book is much more accessible for casual reading.
I’m spiritually starving. I really don’t know how to explain how I’m feeling better than that. (Maybe it’s because I go to Fuller.) This past weekend Kyle, my good friend from Texas A&M, came to come ski and visit, and we got all beat up and had great fun. But Sunday I had a profound experience: we went in the morning (per my typical Sunday ritual) to the Church in the Park to help feed people who are homeless, and I took notice of the obvious starvation that many of these kind and grateful people faced…those who had their spoons in their mouths while still in line for more food. The other half of my Sunday ritual (minus Ultimate frisbee, which I skipped) is going to Warehouse, my church, and this particular evening focused on reflection and worship music, and culminated in communion. And the sense that I had as I sat in a trance-like prayer (which is really strange for me) prior to taking communion was that I was starving, with a yearning for grace that was not unlike one would yearn for food, but finding myself at best reluctant to receive that grace. It was surreal, and the kind of experience that I have not had in a long time. I’m hoping that this Lenten season will help me understand God’s grace better, and how I can rightly respond to it, as someone who is trying to be a faithful disciple.