Greetings Grace Family,
As we turn our calendars from February to March we also begin the season of Lent. It is one of my favorite seasons of the Church year, and not because I get to wear my purple stole for the next 7 weeks. It is the time when we are encouraged to follow Jesus on His journey to the cross and it starts with the reminder that we were formed from the dust of the earth and to the earth we will eventually return.
Those words spoken on Ash Wednesday remind us of our mortality, but also that in addition to God forming Adam and Eve from the dust God also breathed His Spirit in to us forever connecting us to our Maker. It is also a reminder that our time here on earth is temporary, but at the end of this journey we will return to the Source of Life for all eternity thanks to the event that comes at the end of our Lenten journey.
Throughout the season we are invited to be intentional in our self-examination. There are a plethora of spiritual disciplines that we can use in order to take an inventory of our lives and our faith. Of course, the most common of these disciplines is the removal of something in our life. It could be a certain type of food, or social media, a favorite eating spot, television, or anything else we become too dependent on. The point of this discipline is multi-layered, but ultimately reminds us on our dependence on God when we feel the sense of deprivation from whatever it is that was given up.
However, there are other disciplines like daily prayers of thanksgiving, or confession. Meditating on scripture, a daily Psalm reading, or spending time in silence to be more attentive to what God is saying to us (we are generally much better at talking than listening, especially to God!). Service to others, or donating to a ministry or charity in honor of the season are ways for us to ‘love our neighbors’ which was one of Jesus’ more familiar commands. Over the last several years I have suggested adding something to your life of faith rather than the deprivation partly because after 50 days of doing something it is likely to become a permanent part of your spiritual life.
One of the reasons I love the season of Lent is its intentionality. Let’s face it, we are creatures of habit and if we are always doing the same thing over and over life can become a bit stale, and that’s true of our faith and relationship with Jesus. Changing things up makes us more aware and gets us out of our routine. It can be uncomfortable, but we are much more likely to grow when we stretch ourselves or when we are a bit uncomfortable. And who among us has perfect faith? God is always ‘working’ on us. This is the process called sanctification, becoming more like Christ. Is that not something we would all say as Christians we strive for?
Sisters and Brothers, I urge you to take advantage of this season of intentionality that has been a part of Christianity for a very long time! You have nothing to lose (no pun intended) and everything to gain.
In Christ’s Love,