My youngest children are just old enough to have developed a growing curiosity about Lent. They are asking more questions about why and how we Christians observe this liturgical season. One nuance they had missed until this past year was the fact that Lent is not exactly forty days long because we do not include Sundays. When they asked why, I explained that we are Easter people, and we have to pause and remember the resurrection on Sundays. We do not choose penitence on the day that we celebrate the joy of the living Christ. The inevitable question followed: “Does this mean I can eat Takis on Sunday?” Giving up her extra-spicy corn chips was my twelve-year-old daughter’s idea of sacrifice last year. While I acknowledged that many people do forfeit their Lenten promises on Sundays, she might be missing the point. Praise God there is much more to celebrate in a resurrected Jesus than a bag of Takis or a bite of chocolate cake!
Perhaps this is what Jesus is getting at as well in today’s Scripture. In the presence of the living Christ, there is joy. Jesus’ disciples simply cannot fast while the bridegroom is still at the party. There is so much to be celebrated, so much to be shared, so much to offer the world. Though the disciples are in the presence of the living Christ on one side of the resurrection, and we are present with Christ on the other side, the truth for all of us is ultimately the same. In Christ’s presence all things are made new. Nothing is the same as it was. All is joy.
How often do you allow yourself to let go of daily demands and simply be present with the living Jesus?
Holy God, forgive us when we do not delight in the joy of your presence. Teach us to lay down the burdens that bind us and find hope and gladness in the resurrected Christ. Amen.