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In my first writing I shared with you the things I was “giving up” for Lent and I have managed to stay true to those commitments – a first for me during Lent. But early in the Lenten season when the news of Carol’s (Ayotte) passing came to me, honestly, my thinking and reflection about Lent and sacrifice and its meaning pretty much came to a halt. In part, because “my giving up” of a few things I valued, found as comforts, and enjoy routinely, seemed ironically self-focused and oh so trivial in the face of death. The death of a dear person who, in her last days and for decades, was probably more closely attuned to and living out the call to be a living sacrifice than I will ever come close to, as I give up my snooze button or my late-night podcasts and other comforts. As the raw moments of her passing sunk in it seemed a little self-absorbed to contend with my minor discomforts, even for a redemptive purpose.
Carol was not a saint, I am sure, but more of a saint than I expect I will ever be and as I think of her life it embodied the very practices and disciplines, the giving and caring, being Jesus to others, that our Lenten strivings are meant, in part, to engender in us as his followers.
An incredible verse starts off Romans chapter 12 and it goes like this:
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God – this is your true and proper worship.”
Perhaps there is as much to glean from Carol’s life as there is from the efforts we are engaging in during these days of Lent. We anticipate our sacrifices/giving up will point us to the one who sacrificed His all, for all of us, and we trust this will be so.
Yet, there are a few people in my life experience, and hopefully you’ve met these people too, whom I can honestly say, live daily, or who have gone before, and truly were and are living sacrifices and I count Carol among them. The example of her life, I am confident, was her daily act of true and proper worship.