Next week we begin our long 40 day trek through the desert with Jesus. Formation happens all the time. Every billboard and magazine cover we see forms us. Every rose we smell and thorn that pricks our fingertip forms us. Every kind word and every slight forms us. James calls us adulterers for loving the world and loving God. The Bible is full of references to our relationship with God as a marriage. Lent is an opportunity for us to step back from our lives and focus on what our adulteries are. This is our season of counter formation. We must cut away the world and, as purely as we can, be formed only by our Father.
Oh, what a lot of work! Sounds like works righteousness. It is a lot of work but it is the work of vacuuming and cleaning and setting a nice table and fixing a special meal for your wife - preparation so that love can happen. Lent is a time of setting aside busy-ness. A time of creating space, a sabbath so that love between you and your God can happen. You can't control God and make Him love you. You can't make you love Him. BUT.... you can make a place where love can happen. In fact, you MUST make a place where love can happen. You should do that every day. But since we don't, the church in its wisdom has set aside a time for us to focus on only that. The negatives: set aside TV; set aside reading; set aside a meal; set aside deserts. Positives to go in their place: kneeling for one minute beside your bed at night; talking with your wife; going for a walk with God every day; eating plainly in solidarity with the poor. Practice finding your comfort and satisfaction in Christ for 40 days and you will find yourself in a place where love has happened. Promise. Be not conformed to the world but be ye counter formed.