Lenten Loophole

“D’Angelo Light, at your service, ma’am.  May I say you are looking positively lovely today?   How may I be of help?”

He was utterly charming.  I could not take my eyes off him.  He looked into my eyes with such a penetrating gaze, as if I were the only person in his world at this moment.  I was completely mesmerized.

As soon as I gathered my wits, I heard myself confiding in him:  “Mr. Light, I have come to you today upon the recommendation of others who have found themselves in the same predicament.  They say that you are an expert attorney in the area of contract law.”

He assured me that his reputation was based upon documented fact, not just hearsay.  He said, “My track record speaks for itself.  My expertise in finding loopholes is unsurpassed.  My ability to blind people to truth is stellar.  If this is the sort of help you are seeking, then we can certainly work something out.”

“Well,” I said, “I feel sure that what I need is a loophole.  I have entered into a contract that is proving to be a bit too strenuous for me.  I decided to follow the tradition of giving up something for Lent, and I am afraid I impulsively chose T. J. Maxx.  Exactly how binding IS this deal anyway?”

Mr. Light thoughtfully stroked his mustache a couple of times before asking, “With whom did you enter into this contract?”

“Well . . . God of course.”  His question gave me pause.  I wondered where he went to law school.   But I continued.  “On Mardi Gras, one of my younger friends announced that she was giving up Starbucks for Lent.  Sure enough, Ash Wednesday through Saturday, I did not see her there.  Then, on Sunday, there she was, enjoying her favorite cappuccino.  No lightning strike, no plague, no apparent negative consequences for breaking the contract.  I decided to observe her.  All the next week, she did not appear.  However, the following Sunday, I saw her there again.  No attempt to hide what she was doing.  What gives?  Is there some way around the terms of the Lenten contract?”

“Your young friend is both smart and clever.  Smart enough to know that Sundays are not considered to be part of Lent.  They are Sundays IN Lent but not part of the forty days.  That is the loophole in the contract, and she is clever to have found it.  You can use it too, if you wish, to go to T.J. Maxx only on Sundays.  Or there is always Marshall’s, you know; technically, it’s not the same since it has a different name.  You could go there any day of the week and still be within the letter of the law. The Pharisees were masters of this sort of thing.”

“I don’t know . . . I am beginning to rethink this whole thing anyway.  Why did you ask me with whom I made the contract?  Didn’t you know?  Isn’t God the one who wrote up the Lent contract in the first place?”

“Have you read it for yourself?  In the original, I mean.  In his Book?  Did he really institute this, or has it been forged through the years by Tradition?  Can you find reference to it in your Where to Find It in the Bible A to Z?   And while you’re at it, do some research on why you humans make laws for yourselves and then immediately turn around and try to find loopholes.”

“Now I’m confused.”

“It’s what I do.”

“To obey is better than sacrifice” (I Samuel 15:22).


About Jan Hamlett

Exploring faith outside the safety of Sunday
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