Switchfoot has a song called “The Loser”, and one of the phrases in the chorus says this: “If I haven’t already given it away, I’ve got a plan to lose it all.” I preached at an Episcopal church this weekend where a friend of mine is a priest and this past Sunday was the final Sunday of Epiphany (the season of the church calendar that is focused on revealing and proclaiming Christ) that gives way to Ash Wednesday and the beginning of the Lenten season (if you want to learn more about the season of Lent, check out my friends blog post on it).
This song “The Loser”, in my opinion gets to the heart of the lenten season (40 days), that is marked by fasting and preparing oneself to celebrate the resurrection of Christ at Easter in a fresh new way. Losing it all is not on the top of anyone’s list, as we live in a culture that is climbing the ladder of success, even if it’s the ladder of a “successful Christian life”. We want to be on top, we want to have access to power, we long for prestige and accolades, we labor to gain more and more possessions, as small little trinkets fill our lives and homes.
The Lenten season reminds me that the winners in this life are really the losers, the ones who aren’t holding on to anything, who freely lose it all. Think of those who we glorify in the religious realm… it’s those who lost everything to care for the least of these. Jesus spoke about the blessings for the poor and the weak ones. He saved His kindest acts for the sick and the despised ones. He attacked those who lived well off lives while ignoring the injustice of their wealth. Jesus led by an example of selflessness which has never been seen since.
In Jesus, God has entered our humanity and made the divine understandable, and if we are honest with ourselves, the way in which Christ invites us to encounter Him doesn’t seem productive: fasting, weakness, humility, submission, brokenness, confession, suffering. It looks at times weak and very unlike the concepts of human power and authority which we live by every day, but weakness is where the Christian sees Christ more clearly. Losing it all makes room for more of the One who gives all.
This is my plan this Lenten season, to lose all that has kept me too full and busy to hear the voice of God, to receive in a fresh new way, the risen Savior, and to experience more fully the resurrected life.