Poison Dart Frogs are some of the tiniest and beautiful creatures on the planet; they are also incrediably deadly. So, why call this blog "Tiny Dart Frog"? It goes back to the old adage - good things come in small packages. We are all created exactly as God has intended - unique, strong, and beautiful.
Thursday, March 17, 2011
Eating Chocolate for Lent
I once had a professor who, as he was talking about spiritual disciplines, shared a 'discipline' of his wife. His wife often wore dangly earrings...and all during Lent she gave up wearing earrings.
I remember thinking, "This is the most ridiculous' sacrifice I have ever heard of. I mean, there's hardly anything hard about giving up wearing earrings". My pious theology got in my way.
But he went on to say that since she wore these swingy, chandelier - type earrings, she played with them. When she was bored she would touch her ear, when she was nervous she would touch her ear..probably every time she tucked her hair behind her ear, she felt those earrings.
So, for her, not wearing them during Lent was an amazingly conscious experience.
He then said, that every time she would go to touch her ear and found that her earring wasn't there, she would remember...
She remembered God.
As Lent began, I told my Office Administrator this story. And then forgot I had told it to her.
On Ash Wednesday I said, "I'm not giving up anything for Lent...it never works for me." Of course - all about me, huh? But then I said half-jokingly, "Maybe I'll give up chocolate."
She looked at me with wide-eyes and said, "Oh no, you can't give up chocolate. I have an idea."
Now, let me tell you that she has a coffee mug that sits on her desk which is regularly filled with dark chocolate Hershey kisses. I probably eat 5 of them a day... and give her a hard time about feeding my sweet-tooth.
On Ash Wednesday we were all out of chocolate...I know, because in the morning I went to grab a kiss and there were none.
But, later in the day, I went back into her office and the mug was full of chocolate kisses. But on the kisses was taped a little prayer:
"Pray for Carter and his confirmation class."
"Pray for Lucille."
"Pray for the children who receive blankets from Blanket Buddies."
"Pray for Epiphany."
There were numerous little intercessory prayers. I picked up a kiss, unwrapped it and let it melt in my mouth as I read the prayer.
Having the chocolate melt in my mouth while reading the prayer and thinking about what those words said, slowed me down...connected me with God...helped me remember others.
So, I'm eating chocolate for Lent.
And, truth be told, I am eating less chocolate, because it takes much longer to read and pray and think as you eat a piece of chocolate.
It's true that it is really hard for us to 'give up' something for Lent and that we are called to a life of sacrifice as we follow Jesus. However, our salvation is not based upon our ability to sacrifice, whether it be chocolate or our very lives. It's only grounded in God's grace, which sometimes happens to rest on us slowly and sweetly...like a kiss from Heaven.
My name is Christine Stephan, although I answer mostly to Mom or Pastor.
I am a Lutheran pastor for an amazing group of Jesus' disciples just outside Washington DC AND a mom to 3 of the best boys in the universe.
I blog here about family and faith and frustrations....That thing we call 'life'.
My boys are passionate about all things legos, anything involving a ball, video games, and chocolate.
I am an avid runner, a lover of interesting books and deep conversation, a very amateur writer, and also a lover of chocolate.
I also love theology (which is weird, I know), but I don't love theology more than Jesus.
This blog is hardly ever profound, but it is real. As a pastor and I mom, I find 'real' to be more helpful in my journey with Jesus than crossing all the t's and dotting all the i's.