Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Lent Cake

The cake my daughter imagines she's making me..... 


Now that we’ve gotten a few weeks of Lent out of the way, I can safely say that my Lent has been just like Birthday Cake.   No, I don’t mean it’s fun and delicious and something worth waiting a year for.

 I mean it’s been like baking a birthday cake. With a Toddler. For your own birthday.  And in this situation, I’m the toddler.

My toddlers love to make birthday cakes for the people they love.  They DEMAND to make birthday cakes for the people they love. In fact, they are convinced that they can make the best birthday cake ever, by sheer force of will, because they love you and it’s your birthday and birthday’s mean cake.

But they can’t make the cake for you unless you help them make the cake. They need your help from beginning to end. Without help, the birthday cake turns into a mess on the floor, a pain instead of a present.  

 To let your child give you the great gift of a cake, you need to open the box. Read her the directions. Help her measure. Remind her to stir. The moment the toddler decides to charge on ahead without you, the cake ends up a mess and you start thinking you’d have been better off doing it yourself. But you bite your tongue and help, because you love the toddler, and you know that she NEEDS a way to show her love for you and to give you a gift, even if you’re doing most of the gift-making yourself.

That’s Lent. We want to give Jesus a really big cake. We want to show him how much we love him, how we want to be like him, how closely we’ve been watching him and how we’re big enough to do what he does.   And in our toddler minds, we can totally do it ourselves until the cake ends up on the floor and we have to clean up and start over, with more humility and more help this time, but with just as much love.

Jesus doesn’t need the Lenten sacrifices any more than we need the toddler cake. Heck, I’m all powerful. I have a debit card. I can go to Dairy Queen and get myself an ice cream cake. But I don’t, because I love my toddler. 

Lent is about asking Jesus to help us so that we can make a cake for him. A lopsided cake that might taste a little weird, but it’s the best we can do, even with extensive help.   The alternative would be to not make a cake, to not show our love, and to feel awful and broken because we have no way to reach out and love the person who loves us most.

So… Yeah. Lent has been like a birthday cake. And it’s time to wipe the eggs off the floor, ask for help, and start again.