Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Lenten Voices: Giving Up Lent

By Ellen Hill

Why are there so many songs about rainbows

And what's on the other side?

Rainbows are visions, but only illusions,

And rainbows have nothing to hide.

So we've been told and some choose to believe it

I know they're wrong, wait and see.

Someday we'll find it, the rainbow connection,

The lovers, the dreamers and me.

Most of us start Lent with the usual question. What am I giving up for Lent? We gather our children to explain the next six weeks and involve them in a meaningful way in an expression of their faith.

So it was, many years ago that we sat around our dinner table to discuss what we could do individually and as a family for Lent. Our eight-year-old, Meg, said with a mischievous smile. “I’m giving up Lent for Lent.”

Meg had a wicked sense of humor, which often made keeping a straight face and any attempt at discipline difficult. She liked church for the people but found the service rather long. We tried to convince her that giving up something no matter how small made her a part of our Lenten community. We talked about all the things parents might when you want your children to have a spiritual life. We talked and talked to no avail.

Then as Easter approached, Megan devised her plan. Meg knew there was a shelter for children right near St. Paul’s. She gathered her stuffed animals and some Easter baskets. Then enlisted her older sister to help in collecting from the neighbors. Anne, of the more practical bent, asked our dentist for toothbrushes and toothpaste. They put a book in each basket. They both found out exactly how many children would be there on Easter morning so no one would be disappointed. Together, they discovered Lent and had a wonderful adventure.

Meg found her own path. Not in the giving up but in the giving.

If the Easter journey is about the light of Christ, perhaps joy should light the way.

Who said that every wish would be heard and answered

When wished on the morning star?

Somebody thought of that, and someone believed it,

And look what it's done so far.

What's so amazing that keeps us stargazing

And what do we think we might see?

Someday we'll find it, the rainbow connection,

The lovers, the dreamers, and me.

--Kermit the Frog

To Meg, always a stargazer.

Ellen Hill is a longtime member of St. Paul's.

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