Monday, March 14, 2011

Ash Wednesday, 2011-A

Fasting... it isn't about chocolate or TV or alcohol. It's about giving up those things that interfere with our relationships with God and neighbor. Fasting means shifting our priorities so that we aren't our own first priority, God and neighbor are. When we fast, we are making space for God to grow something new in the soil of our souls.

The word 'Lent' means 'spring' and the Lenten season is a time when new life is being grown in us by the author of all life. It's a time when we look deeply and honestly at ourselves and give our re-making over to the One who created us, loves and sustains us, and desires us to be perfect (meaning perfectly as God intends us to be). Remember we don't "do" Lent, God does.

This Lent, try fasting from anger that burns like an ember in your belly (give it up) ; fast from holding a grudge (give it up); fast from criticism or judgement of self and/or other (give it up). I suggested to one friend that they might give up the news. Our obsession with 24-hour information streams was causing this person to lose hope. Give it up! Watch once a day - the news doesn't change much in a day.

When you have made space, and tilled the soil of your soul with honest self-examination, then wait while God leads you to fill the space with things that will draw you into right relationships with God and neighbor... things like, Morning Prayer weekdays at the Chapel at Redeemer; praying the Rosary daily (since so many of you have asked for it, we'll have another Rosary Retreat soon - watch for details); mid-day Eucharist at the Chapel on Wednesdays; Soup Suppers and Lenten teaching on end of life planning on Thursday evenings; Sunday worship and Christian formation - our tradition is rich with ways to draw closer to God and neighbor and our parish offers a variety of ways to practice your Lenten disciplines. You might also work at the Shepherd's Table, visit the homebound, or mentor a child.

Listen... God will guide you. Check the Redeemer website for our Lenten activities

Note: I preached extemporaneously, but these were some of the main ideas. May your Lent be holy, intentional, and fruitful.

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