struggle, spirituality, absurdity

My Lent Beard

my Lent beard

I am so ready for my beard to go away. I can no longer eat chips and salsa without needing to change my clothes and scrub my face – salsa goes everywhere. Bagels and cream cheese? That ends in disaster. Cheesy, cheesy disaster.

I started letting it grow wild for Lent as a new tradition. A few guys are doing it with me, and I hope next year we will get a small army of scruffy-faced Lent observers.

Martin Luther wrote these words: “Original sin is in us, like the beard. We are shaved today and look clean, and have a smooth chin; tomorrow our beard has grown again, nor does it cease growing while we remain on earth.”

For me, a beard like this is a sign of repentance. It itches, gets in the way, and generally annoys me. And, I did not even ask for my wife’s input for this post – you can imagine what she might say.

However, I’ve noticed that I am anticipating Easter more this year than in the past. Yes, I want this stupid beard gone, but that has created a bit of energy in me as Holy Week approaches. When I shave for Easter, I will feel like a new man. And since I believe in the Resurrection of the dead, that’s what it is all about, right? A new man indeed…

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  1. Just heard your exposition of “let the dead bury the dead”. Wonderful as always; nice to see Christian learning and scholarship reattach to its 19th century heights. Since you are unusually adept in purported “rabbinical” teaching and practice in Jesus’ times, I’ll first remark that the “friends” among them might think Easter-Pentecost a more appropriate time for that beard.

    Just a few corrections on today. “Semakhot” means joys (common Hebrew literary trick to express an unpleasant phenomenon (eg death, blindness) in a contrary manner. “Shivah” – “sit on your couch” – actually they sat on something hard and uncomfortable. “Shloshim” restrictions. Actually no new or unique ones; but it describes the period when the departed spirit lands where it has destined itself to land; usually followed by some commemorative meal (hypothecating that it had a happy landing). “Let the dead bury the dead”) – you call it “snarky”. P I S H E R! It was the purest rabbinical teaching: that sepulchure was a contemporary practice, not a commandment, and subject to modification; certainly nothing to override the opportunity he was offering to the guy. You taught marvelously, and I hope I’m not too anal to appreciate it fully. GBU.

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