Last week I posted a link to the anglican chants I have been writing for lent on a Facebook group for Gen X and Millennial Clergy. One of my colleagues, in a polite and humorous way, called me out for the sin of pride. Essentially, that I was turning the acts of my lenten discipline into something to brag about. I wasn't offended by his comments, quite the opposite because they gave me pause to check my motivations. Was I indeed sharing these chants to say, "Look at what cool thing I can do?" Was my motivation for my lenten discipline to grow closer with God or to show off my abilities?
It was good to pause and reflect. Asking myself those questions helped me clarify that I am indeed doing this composition project as an offering to God. I have posted on the blog that people can use these in their liturgies, and I am spreading the word to folks who might have use of them so that they don't just exist on my hard drive or even just the blog. If I kept these compositions to myself, then that would be selfish and maybe even prideful. All of us have talents and it is part of the life of faith to polish and hone those talents not for ourselves but as an offering to God. I want these Anglican Chants sung to complete the offering. They have only been crafted, now they need to be prayed.
Lenten disciplines are tricky things because as we pass the halfway mark of lent, we can indeed become prideful. We can say to ourselves look at me, I'm not eating meat, or I haven't had a drink in 21 days. No bacon for me, what are you doing? It's easy to slip into the roll of the pharisee who prayed in the temple, "thank you God for not making me like that lowly tax collect" meanwhile the tax collector is in the corner praying "God, have mercy on me a sinner." Luke 18:11-15
As I wrote last week, lenten disciplines are about transformation, not merely spiritual olympics. They are meant to bring us closer to God, not for mere self-gratification. Pride is a temptation that draws us away from God. So, how do we combat the temptation? When we offer what we accomplish up to God for both the glorification of God and for God to use as God will, then our pride is rightfully placed. When our accomplishments, creative endeavors, even our professional achievements are used to bring about life for others in any way, then they are righteous not prideful.