I’m awful at laundry. It either piles up in my dirty clothes hamper or ends up washed, but wrinkled in a pile on top of my dryer because I’m too busy (or lazy) to fold/hang every article up (mostly hang, I have an incredibly hard time with folding). The sole laundry-related gift I am blessed with is my ability to clean out the lint tray. It doesn’t matter if I am super late for a date with the President (accept my exaggerations, they will only get worse), I am going to make sure that the lint tray is completely cleaned out before I put my clothes in there. I’m scared to death that my apartment will go up in flames if even a minuscule piece of lint is left in that tray. (Is this a rational fear? Probably not.) Also, who likes lint all over their clothes? No one. I want my dryer to be pure of anything that could possibly taint the smell and cleanliness of my clothing, or could destroy my entire apartment by catching fire.
Lint is messy. It sticks to everything, it has little to no benefit to anyone anywhere… Unless someone knows some sort of crafty thing to do with lint (I wouldn’t put it past Pinterest to have something, let’s be real). Lent (yep, capital L and with an ‘e’, switch gears with me real quick) can also be messy, yet in an unintentional way.
Sunday morning during Sunday School, my 4th & 5th graders had a hard time grasping the concept of Lent. They totally got Easter and the resurrection and the love that Jesus has for all of his people, but the 40+ days of preparation was something that was puzzling to them. Finally, when we began to compare Lent to school something seemed to click. They understood that if they wanted to get an “A” on a test in school, they would have to pay attention in class, they would have to study; they couldn’t just show up the day of the test without any preparation and expect a good grade. They then made the jump – perhaps that is what it’s like with Lent and Easter. No, we’re not trying to get a good grade with God, but we are trying to understand the love that God has for us and the ultimate sacrifice Jesus makes on Easter. If we were to show up on Easter morning without taking into account the days leading up to Easter, we would miss something. We wouldn’t be able to fully appreciate what Christ did for us, we wouldn’t understand the limitless love that is offered to us on a daily basis. By realizing that there is more to the story than Easter morning, my 4th & 5th graders were able to understand the focus and emphasis and intentionality that comes along with the Lenten season.
Lent is not easy, it’s messy; it is a season to wrestle with, it is a season to come to terms with the enormity of God and the grace that is constantly offered to us. I once wrote a tweet that said, “Christ’s love is the only thing that is consistently there & the only thing I constantly push away.” This is still true for me today.
What lint is filling up your lint tray during this Lenten season? What is threatening to start a fire in your life?