Thursday, April 01, 2004

Newsletter: A Season of Preparation

I don’t like surprises. Instead of just allowing life to happen, I prefer the Boy Scout motto, “Be prepared.” When challenges come, I like to be ready to offer assistance and to help others. I find preparing and planning a useful tool. However, preparation is never an end in itself. When Sara was pregnant, I made preparations. I remember building the crib and painting the baby’s room. I remember taking Lamaze classes, and I remember even trying to read What to Expect When Your Expecting. Through my preparations, I wanted to avoid surprises. Essentially, I wanted to be in control. However, I quickly discovered, as all fathers do, from the very beginning I was never in control. Sara and I realize now that parenting is merely one surprise after another. The experience has been sometimes scary, but we thank God everyday for Thomas and our life together.

Lent is a season of preparation. As Christians we prepare our hearts and minds for the celebration of Easter. As early as the fourth and fifth centuries, Lent was the time when adult converts prepared for baptism. Catechumens would be examined to see if their preparations brought forth a repentant life. Today, Lent is a time for penance, sacrifice, and fasting. We plan, and we practice, and we prepare. However, our Lenten preparations must never conceal an attempt to be in control. When we deal with God, we quickly realize that we are never in charge. Our attempts to remove all mystery fail miserably. Instead, God teaches us gratitude as we rely upon him. Following the Christ to Calvary means a life of submission, sacrifice, and humility. This life also means finding victory in the surprise of an empty tomb.

Grace & Peace,

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