The Rev. Casey dunsworth

serves as Associate Campus Pastor to the Belfry, the Lutheran-Episcopal Campus Ministry to UC Davis

and as Program Director for LEVN, the Lutheran Episcopal Volunteer Network.

Lenten "sacrifice" and stuff.

Tonight at Ash Wednesday worship, my supervising pastor preached that Lent is not a season of deprivation. This idea of deprivation and "giving up" of vices is something that we have become accustomed to -- it's almost a secularization of Lent in that people who do not live the other seasons of the church year so well are called to use Lent as an excuse for a new diet regimen. And that's fine, if they need that. But the season of Lent is not about cutting calories to fit into that new Easter dress. The season of Lent is for spiritual reflection and growth -- addition, one might say -- as we await the risen Christ on Easter morning.

It has been said of Lutherans that we are the Easter people. We wear empty crosses around our necks, not bleeding crucifixes, because it is the joy that comes with the morning upon which we ruminate for these 40 days of Lent. We may have fallen into the habit of cutting out cookies and caffeine (ooh until those Girl Scouts come by and oh, but it's just so early I'll fall asleep in class if I don't drink a cup of coffee) and allot extra time for reading and prayer (ooh until it's just so busy and I'll catch up tomorrow on those devotions I promise, oh, it's been a week already?)  and suddenly it is Holy Week and all we are is guilty for our forgotten "sacrifices" of the season of Lent.

My suggestion is that we take a moment to be reasonable. Spend this time of Lenten reflection getting closer to God. However you feel like you do that. Does that mean doing your best to get extra sleep? To drink less beer on Friday nights so you can get up on Saturdays and get your homework done? To get outside more often and remember the beauty of creation? There is no need to set new standards of living during these 40 days -- standards that will just fall by the wayside when real life gets in the way. In my view, God is not concerned with your counting of calories or forced, distracted minutes of "meditation" -- you're better off skipping it altogether.

Take a second, now, to think about how you can be reminded of the grace of God in your daily life. Try to get those places, do those things, see those people, hear those sounds.

Eat your cookie. Drink your coffee. Love your God.

Process theology sensory experience free-write

Transfiguration -- Mark 9:2-9