Ah Lent! Amidst all the failed Lenten experiments I can’t help but ask the question…. why?
I remember being 17 and completely stoked about the idea of giving up TV for Lent. I even bought a book about the real “Robinson Crusoe’ to serve as my TV supplement. My hope was to ultimately break my TV addiction. I was going to impress everyone with my superior spirituality even though I did not care about Jesus.
I lasted mere days. In my defense there was a hockey game on and I couldn’t help it. But needless to say from that point on it was all down hill and I bailed on that Lent experiment. I didn’t participate in Lent for years after that expereince. I still have the book in my office as a reminder that Lent is not easy, particularly when we start messing with our regular life rhythms.
By definition mortification is the ‘discipline of the body and the appetites by self-denial or self privation.’ When people give something up for Lent, in essence they are participating in some element of mortification. Some traditions get all physical with the mortification thing. But it is not all physical. It deals with the self-discipline of taking something away. So in my attempt to deny myself television I was in essence participating in an act of mortification. Interestingly mortification gets all the air time during Lent. The words ‘I’m giving up this, or I’m giving up that’ echo across many church foyer conversations, facebook status updates and even the twittersphere. Yet there is another dynamic of Lent that does not get nearly as much air time.
If mortification is the act of taking something away, or denying one’s self than vivification is the complete opposite.
By definition vivify is ‘to give, or bring to life’ or ‘to make more lively.’ Now imagine that during this Lenten season you add something to your life that gets to the essence of the season. The essence of walking with Jesus to the cross and beyond.
The hope of “40 Days of Writing’ is to dream, contemplate, process, wonder, imagine, critique and write it down. The even greater hope is that this will somehow deepen my expereince with Jesus. That is my ever elusive ‘why?’ In adding this experience to the mix I am effectively taking away time otherwise spent watching TV or playing PS3. In my vivification I am indeed participating in an act of mortification. Vivification is life-giving. Vivification asks the question; what will you add to your life that will renew your walk with Jesus during this Lenten season?
As we give up, may we take on something that will deepen our connection with Jesus.