Feb 17 2013

“Sheddin’ Time”

whitetail-buckThis past Wednesday I was walking our dog, Sierra, in the back yard, when I came across something very interesting.  There on the ground before us was a beautiful antler left behind by a whitetail buck.   Just two days earlier I was telling a friend of mine that I had never seen a deer in our yard.  I still haven’t seen any deer there but I certainly have proof that they have been there.   When I posted a picture of the antler on Facebook another friend told me that this is “sheddin’ time” for deer, meaning that this is the season when deer typically drop or shed their antlers.  I had not heard that phrase before.

As I noted above, I found the antler on Wednesday.  That just so happened to be Ash Wednesday this year, the beginning of the season of Lent.  Lent is a forty day journey leading up to Easter.  It is a time when Christians are encouraged to do some self-examination and repent of their sins.  In some ways Lent might also be called “sheddin’ time.”  As we focus on the sacrifice of Christ we, too, may need to shed or drop a few things.

Whitetail-buck-in-frostAt the beginning of Hebrews 12 the biblical writer says “let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked for us.” (v. 1)  The image painted here is that of a runner who throws off his robe, or anything else that might slow him down, in the race he is running.  There can be no denying that we all have sins and bad habits that slow us down in our Christian journey.  These need to be shed.  Lent is a good time to do so.

antler 531In Colossians 3 the apostle Paul writes: “But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.  Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.” (vs. 9-10)  The picture painted here is a bit different than the previous one.  Here Paul depicts dirty clothes being cast aside and fresh, clean clothes being put on instead.  He says a couple of verses later: “clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” (v. 12)  Once again, there can be no denying that we all have dirty laundry–harmful attitudes and actions–that need to be shed.  Lent is a good time to do so.

It is currently “sheddin’ time” in the world of nature.  Hopefully it will also be “sheddin’ time” for many of us in our spiritual lives as well.

–Chuck

(I photographed the two whitetail bucks at Cades Cove in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  The bottom image shows the antler as I found it this past Wednesday.)