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100 Ogden Lane
Oak Ridge, TN 37830
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865.483.0320

Weeky E-News

Weekly e-News February 12

CCC Oak Ridge

Hey, everyone!

Hope you’re having an awesome day! Even tho’ some might be a little more…uh…sad...and/or a little more grumpyish… than normal because of the Lenten season! Lent is the time when so many give up things for the 40 days before Easter. I know it’s tougher to have to do without stuff that you like (love!) more than you realized. Like those commercials for the patch that helps you stop smoking… 

“Side effects may include increased irritability…”

Y’think?! 

A while ago, someone took a Twitter survey of 300,000 tweets that were tweeted (or is it “that were twit”?) asking folks what they were planning to give up for Lent. Many of the choices were pretty traditional…meat (in tenth place)…chocolate (number two)…sex (eighth out of the top one hundred)…ice cream (thirty third)…

Some of the things that people quit for Lent were choices saints of old couldn’t have chosen, like…Facebook (#6)…social networking (#23)…twitter (#1!).

In fact, by far the most "Things I'm giving up for Lent" tweets had to do with renouncing social media, including Twitter. So, hopefully the tweet to renounce Twitter was the last tweet before going Twitterless! Maybe it'd be a good time to go on a spiritual retweat! 

Then there was…”biting my nails”… “Nutella”… “sarcasm”… “”procastination” (better now than later!)

Some stuff seems like it would be super difficult to go without…

…"#16-bread" (How you supposed to live like that?)

…"#5-swearing" (That's gonna be pretty dang tough!)

…"#55-selfies" (Some folks might not know their phone can take pictures even if it's turned around the other way!)

One I liked was number twenty…“giving things up”! As in, “I’m giving up giving up things!”

I guess I liked that one because I’m not a huge Lenten person. I think it is an awesome exercise for those who really benefit from it! But it’s not really a season I understand well. Sometimes, when I read about it, the basic idea is that you are preparing your heart for Easter by trying to relive the days and weeks before our Lord’s death for us. By depriving yourself of something you love, you enhance the sadness and heaviness of heart that accompanied those who lived those days. Churches and crosses within and without are draped in black. Almost as if nature itself is mourning Him. As one article put it “Christians have ritually reenacted for millennia in the observance of Lent and, especially, of Holy Week. The fasting of Lent makes space for the feasting of Easter; wallowing in the horror of death makes space for glorying in the hope of the Resurrection.”

Then, when it’s finally Easter morning, we are filled with joy with the renewed realization that He is alive!! 

Only thing is…

To me, it almost feels like I’m trying to pretend. Like “Let’s pretend” when we were kids. It feels to me sometimes that at Lent I’m trying to pretend that my Lord is about to die. I’m trying to pretend that we are in the days leading to His death. Then, we’ll celebrate that He’s risen and alive on Easter Sunday. But for now, during Lent I’m pretending He isn’t risen yet.

But that’s a game I already play too much.

Sometimes I forget to remember that my Savior is alive! He lives!! If I could only realize all the time that He is Risen Lord of all, and King of kings! He rules over everything that happens! Because Jesus rose from the tomb and reigns on His throne…

because “the Lion of the tribe of Judah has overcome (Revelation 5.5)…

and because from His throne, “He works all things after the counsel of His own will” (Eph 1.11)…

and because from there, my Risen Lord is “working all things together for good for us” (Romans 8.28)…

and because He lives for us, “alive from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep” (Hebrews 13.20)…

because of these things…

I never have to worry about anything again! Because He lives!! And reigns!!

I need to NEVER forget that again!

In fact, because our Lord Jesus is alive and risen for us, and because He lives inside of all of us who love and trust Him, giving us power to be different than we’ve ever been, there are lots of things we should give up for Lent! Things like…

…“negativity” (# 96)

… “complaining” (in 85th place)

…and “being mean” (coming in at 93)

There are plenty of things I should give up for Lent! Not because Jesus hasn’t yet risen from the dead.

But because He has!