About now, we start having fun with the debates about when Lent ends – Ms. Worthen’s rule (Friday after church), Saturday noon, or Sunday at sunrise? Well we aren’t there yet and instead of coasting to the finish line, let’s break out into a sprint.
Lent has been about change, and change doesn’t come easy. To be transformed we have to sacrifice. Being a disciple requires us to let go of habits, prejudices, viewpoints, even certain relationships. Our call to bring heaven to earth means cleansing ourselves of pettiness, rationalizations, judging and excluding others. (If you think giving up rationalizations is easy, remember the lines from the Big Chill where the character says, rationalizations are more important than sex, and when Nick hears this he responds, “Nothing is more important than sex,” and the character responds, “Ever gone a day without a rationalization?”
Most of us have good intentions and don’t think of ourselves as hypocritical or duplicitous, but our actions say otherwise. We speak of loving others, but we don’t hesitate to bash people from other political parties, cultures, religions, or races. We talk about forgiveness, but we can’t begin to allow God to forgive us, much less forgive ourselves.
It is these sacrifices that we practice during this last week of Lent; it is these sacrifices that are the costs to be borne to transform first our lives and then the rest of the world. We practice taking on these costs to bring heaven fully into this temporal world. During Lent, it is these costs we welcome as the costs of change.