You won’t regret doing this…
Today (as I write this) is the first day of Lent. I’ve tried to understand and experience this season in helpful, healthy ways for the last several years. It’s a journey I don’t regret. So I invite you to consider how you can make the most of this opportunity that is upon us. Here’s an excellent perspective from Ruth Haley-Barton (find more here):
Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the Church’s observance of the Lenten season—six weeks that are set apart for the purpose of drawing closer to God and seeking him with greater intensity. Unfortunately, the Lenten season often gets reduced to the question, “What are you giving up for Lent?” This is a fine question, but it can only take us so far. The real question of the Lenten season is, “How will I repent and return to God with all my heart?”
This begs an even deeper question: “Where in my life have I gotten away from God, and what are the disciplines that will enable me to find my way back?”
So our focus isn’t on making ourselves miserable, but on reconnecting with God. Sometimes the best way to do that is by removing those things that stand in the way. Things like:
- Entertainment options
- Social media
- Creature comforts
- Indulgent appetites
I can’t get away from Ruth’s question, “Where in my life have I gotten away from God, and what are the disciplines that will enable me to find my way back?”
For me, one of the disciplines I choose is to remove all electronics “noise” from my “ride time” (while driving). No radio, CD, phone, music, etc. Because I’ve learned over the years that this truly DOES help me find my way back in the midst of endless noise, distractions, to-do lists, etc. Your own journey may look very different.
Whatever you may choose to “remove” from your life, whatever disciplines you implement, remember that the purpose is to find a short and straight pathway that reconnects us with God.
You may also want to consider unique opportunities to discover God thru his word, thru reflection, thru journaling, etc. This year I’ve chosen to engage with a structured Bible reading plan available online (the Bible app, youversion.com). It’s called Lent for Everyone. It’s just one of many options. Again, choose something that will help you connect with God.
The opportunity is right under our noses. Lent offers a chance to make temporary, voluntary changes in our lives that will produce lasting, life-giving results. If you choose this journey, it’s one that you will not regret. Feel free to share your own decisions in the comment section below.
– Pastor Mark