Chaplain’s Corner

BY SCOTT KERSHNER

Lent is upon us. Many people know Lent as a time to “give something up”-as in, “I gave up chocolate (or Facebook or Starbucks caramel flan lattes) for Lent.” Have you ever made such a “sacrifice?” What did it mean for you? Was it helpful in any way? Did it give you new perspective on your desires and compulsions? Did it give you insight into what holds you captive and what sets you free? Did it reconnect you with your own inner sources of faith and vitality and life? Lent is a time for reflecting on all these things and more.
I’ve begun to wonder if this tradition of giving things up for Lent doesn’t end up confusing things a little. What if God (if you believe in God, and if you don’t, grant me the thought experiment) wants us to desire more, not less? What if our real problem is not that we desire too much, but that we don’t desire nearly enough? What if we have yet to come passionately and fully alive? What if the root of the issue is not chocolate or Facebook or the caramel flan lattes after all? What if we think of Lent as a time of revitalized, refocused and awakened desire for the fullness of life we mostly deeply seek?
Here’s my desirous Lenten manifesto: desire beauty; desire justice; desire an economy that works with the earth instead of against it; desire friends who will not judge you in your failings and who will hold you in your weakness; desire to be such a friend; desire to be forgiving and forgiven; desire to love your neighbor with abandon and tenderness and courage. Desire.