We are two weeks into Lent. How’s that sacrifice going?
Well, I’ve got some good news.
If you decided to give something up for Lent, on this Sunday and every Sunday to the end of Lent, you can actually partake in that chocolate, or alcohol, or whatever it was you decided to do without for 40 days. See, this liturgical season is actually 46 days long, but Sundays don’t count. I know, right?!
I can’t quite decide if the Sunday clause would be considered a Lenten loophole, but it definitely feels like you’re beating the system if you can break your fast on the Sabbath day, doesn’t it?
Lent isn’t the only time people take advantage of loopholes. Anyone who is acquainted with preparing taxes could probably tell you about a few loopholes. Loopholes in general can be found everywhere.
Well…just about everywhere.
You might be able to cheat 6 days out of Lent or take advantage of an ambiguity in the IRS tax code, but any loopholes around death are non-existent.
The law of nature is set.
You might be able to cheat death a few times or delay the inevitable, but the truth is, you will die someday.
In my day-to-day work as a hospice chaplain, it continues to amaze me when I encounter elderly people who struggle to accept their mortality. They have had decades and decades of living and still, they cannot comfortably face that ultimately they are dying as well.
From ashes you came, and ashes you will return.
Part of the purpose of Lent is to face this reality: Death awaits us all. And in an age-fearing, death-denying culture, we need this liturgical season more than ever.
When we no longer pine for what we had or desperately cling to what we still possess;
when we can be grateful in all times, just living in the moment;
when we can accept that all of this is temporary, that what we call life will end as we know it;
that’s when living in the persistent shadow of death becomes rich beyond measure.
For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
–2 Corinthians 4:17-18