Lent is the 40 days between Ash Wednesday & Good Friday (not counting Sundays). The 40 days represent both Moses time on the mountain top and Jesus’ days in the wilderness withstanding Satan’s temptations. After 2020, I think we all have a better understanding of what the wilderness is. A time and space where things don’t make sense, you loose track of the little moments and it some ways it feels like a vacuum sucking away every bit of normalcy you’ve come to know. Approach this mediation with a still heart, light a candle and bring a journal with you. Write what you feel the Spirit leading you too.
This period of “giving up or sacrifice” isn’t about us appreciating the item more at the end of the 40 days, it’s about seeing it’s control over our lives. We “give up or sacrifice” this or that thing gives us a profound way of recalling our desperate need for Jesus, and understanding the things that control us in this world.
God calls us to live in Shalom with one another. While our culture is etched in independence, we cannot do church or live our lives independently from our God. From the very beginning of Genesis, we see Adam’s loneliness as an experience all people can relate too. God made us into relational beings, relational with one another & with God, themself. Good, Healthy Relationships do not demand a sacrifice of independence, instead they offer us the gift of meeting our own inadequacies. To understand the strength of a relationship you must experience weakness.
During this season of Lent, consider the relationships you are in. Do they fill you or drain you?
O God, early in the morning I cry to you.
Help me to pray
And to concentrate my thoughts on you;
I cannot do this alone.
In me there is a darkness,
But with you there is light;
I am lonely, but you do not leave me;
I am feeble in heart, but with you there is help;
I am restless, but with you there is peace.
In me there is bitterness, but with you there is patience;
I do not understand your ways,
But you know the way for me…
Restore me to liberty,
And enable me to live now
That I may answer before you and before men.
Lord, whatever this day may bring,
Your name be praised.
AMEN.Dietrich Bonhoeffer (Germany 1906-1945)
“What a contrast between God’s character and ours! While human beings are disobedient and rebellious, God is gracious, merciful, and loving!”Yusufu Turaki (Nigeria)
Fasting, or traditionally giving up a food item, during Lent is customary although it our modern culture it tends to be a pleasure or indulgence. When determining what too fast from, we ought select something we perceive to be hindering our growth with Christ. If you can’t come up with something ask a trusted friend or family member.
With our constant access to everything at our finger tips, perhaps we have lost sight of the art of fasting. Our expectations of instant gratification do not intersect well with this idea of self-denial. Consider how you can actively deny yourself something and give instead during Lent.
Moses remained there on the mountain with the Lord forty days and forty nights. In all that time he ate no bread and drank no water. And the Lord wrote the terms of the covenant- the Ten Commandments – on the stone tablets.
O God, the deathless hope of everyone, we rejoice that you support us both when young and even to old age. When our strength comes from you, it is strength indeed; but when our own strength is all we have, it is feebleness. You give refreshment and true strength.Augustine of Hippo (Algeria 354-430)