“It's a funny thing about humility
As soon as you know you're being humble
You're no longer humble
It's a funny thing about life
You've got to give up your life
To be alive
You've got to suffer to know compassion
You can't want nothing if you want satisfaction
It's a funny thing about love
The harder you try to be loved
The less loveable you are
It's a funny thing about pride
When you're being proud
You should be ashamed”
from Trap Door by T-Bone Burnett
Those lines, "It's a funny thing about life/You've got to give up your life/To be alive," are very profound lyrics to take into Lent.
This is the subversive secret of the Kingdom of God. As the world seeks getting and gaining and hoarding, God’s way to human fulfilment is the opposite.
Lent is often defined as a time of denial. It is certainly a time to reflect on what distracts us from the more important things. The clutter and fuss of our lives clog up our souls from the refreshing life giving air that the Spirit wants to pump through us.
Jesus did not give his life for our own self indulgence but so that we might give our own lives for the service of God and others. It is in that service that we find the life in all its fulness that God desires for us.
Lent is ultimately about that. The denial is for our flourishing. Lent should be seen as a time when we return to God’s intentional flourishing of our humanity.
Jesus did not ask disciples to pray a prayer, believe a few creedal statements, go to Church every week, sing new worships songs or give up chocolate for six weeks before Easter
Long before T-Bone’s clever lyrics Jesus put it like this - “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” In that following, he knew, we would flourish.