Lent was the pits: which is stronger, our flesh or our spirit? For me, it depends on the day…even the time of day.
As a kid, Easter was second only to Christmas. We had the 40 days of Lent to anticipate what the Easter bunny would leave in our baskets. The day before Ash Wednesday we swallowed every sweet in sight in desperate preparation for forty days of denial.
Lent was the pits.
We counted the days until Easter morning when we’d bounce out of bed before the first ray would dance through the drapes in the front room. Mom always bought chocolate from Bidwell’s Candy Store, a small, family-owned shop on Broadway. When you walked in the door, you could taste the creamy aroma of sweet delights.
But one Easter was different. Mom bought everything at The General Nutrition Center. She crammed our baskets full of nutritious candy. “Nutritious” and “candy” didn’t belong in the same sentence, not to mention our Easter baskets.
It seemed to us a crazy coup to overthrow real candy.
Carob bunnies led the invasion. Carob raisins dropped from eggs like grenades while carob nuts catapulted from colored chicks. Fruit Roll-Ups® were aimed at us like cannons. Granola bars sunk beneath the surface like submarines and bags of trail mix were scattered everywhere like shrapnel. Why, we couldn’t even trade the healthy stuff with our cousin Kimmy for green jelly beans.
Our outcry was deafening. That was the only Easter that my mom waged war on chocolate bunnies. Now and again she attempted to slip a few raisins into our cookies disguised as chocolate chips. She even used honey incognito in our morning oatmeal and put wheat germ in our pancakes. But we had diplomatically secured a peace treaty outlining Easter’s need to be celebrated with real candy. After fasting for 40 days and nights we wanted real chocolate…and lots of it!
During Lent some folks deny their flesh of a favorite food with spiritual growth being the goal. Aligning our spirit with the Holy Spirit, if we would die to self, could we live as a more powerful example of grace? I think so.
This leads me to ask: Which is stronger, our flesh or our spirit? For me, it depends on the day…even the time of day. If you feel led by the Spirit to fast, perhaps you could start by skipping one meal. In college, I fasted from “fast food” during Lent. The type of fast isn’t as important as the heart attitude. I’ve found that challenges are always easier when faced with a friend. This Lent might you join me in a fast from eating fast, slowing down enough to savor the flavor of each bite…perhaps even put down your utensil between mouthfuls? Let’s be wowed together like kids on Easter morning who slowly nibble off milk chocolate bunny ears.
Lent was the pits