I ran into a snag this year, though. I had no problem finding the common threads, the themes that I would weave together throughout the weeks of Lent. It was a joy, actually, to watch it all begin to emerge through study and prayer. The problem was, I couldn't come up with a name. Now, I know, that probably sounds a bit silly. But try to imagine for a minute that you're me - and you're rather nerdy about these things. It might feel important to you, too?
Each week, I'll be talking about something that begins with the letter "P". But really, who wants to listen to a sermon series called, "The P's of Lent"?
So I grappled with this for quite some time. Even until today, actually. On the first Sunday in Lent I preached about the Pilgrim journey of Lent - the faithful, but sometimes lonely road. I wanted to focus on the idea that when we begin Lent, or we decide on something to give up or take on - there needs to be a purpose, a specific goal. Something that allows us to draw closer to God. Last week, I focused on the promises of God. The promises that God makes to all of us who are Pilgrims both in Lent - and in life - who find ourselves journeying to God.
And this week, as my sermon continues to take shape - there are other "P-words", too. But still, no title for this sermon series.
Finally today I found myself completely frustrated by this. And then I realized - no one was likely to be bothered by this except me. And it was time for me to let it go.
Letting go is also part of our invitation in Lent. As soon as I let go of my desire to come up with a totally brilliant title for a Lenten sermon series about words that begin with P (I know, it does sound ridiculous), I was able to focus on things that were much more important. And, in fact, I was able to draw nearer to God.
We all have things in life that we need to let go. Sometimes they're actual objects - items round the house, or tokens stuffed in boxes at the back of closets. Sometimes they're ideas. But in any case, letting go of the things that block us and hold us back is a good spiritual practice. That's why, perhaps, that "de-crapifying" Lent challenge has gone round Facebook and turned out to be so popular. (If you've not seen that, it's the challenge to throw out one thing, or in some cases, donate a bag of things for each day in Lent.) It's because all of us live these terribly cluttered lives. And sometimes we desperately need to go through it, label it, chuck some of it, and give up on some it. Today, for me, that was a title for a sermon series.
What was it for you? What do you need to let go of - be it an idea, a relationship, an object, or a habit - that will allow you to enjoy tomorrow a little bit more - and to hear God's voice more clearly?