upper room daily devotions

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

how are your lenten disciplines going?

How are your Lenten disciplines going? Mine are fairing so-so. While I haven't been watching TV, I have spent too much time and money downloading music from iTunes. I've been more successful saying grace regularly. And, as I've gotten in the habit of taking a moment to be grateful for what I have to eat, my prayer has grown to include, "Help me to be mindful about what I eat and to be grateful for what I have." This has made saying grace even more meaningful. I also have been trying to find something related to the environment to add to my Lenten schedule. I've settled on joining a local neighbors group dedicated to "greening" our neighborhood. I also have been looking for a new home that is certified "green."

Lent is a holy time. I find it especially meaningful. Too often progressive Christians get wrapped up in the work for social justice and leave behind the state of their soul and the health of their spirit. Christianity is not work for social change; it is a vision for a different world altogether - a world in which the least and the last are invited into the center of communal life, a world in which the lost find home, a world with no war, no bigotry, and no violence. Social justice is a part of this vision, but it is not the entirety of the vision. Without connection to the Divine, the work for social change is overwhelming and the realities of this world too disheartening. During Lent, I remember my connection to the Divine. I remember that I belong to God before I belong to country, church, or community. I am a member of an ancient faith that stretches through time and place to a group of people held captive by a powerful Pharaoh. I am a follower of a wandering Galilean carpenter who challenged the powers and principalities of Rome and charged the peasants and city dwellers of his time to live according to God's plan for a just and compassionate world. Lent is a holy time that ties me to my past, roots me in my present, and sets my face toward the upcoming miracle of Easter.

My disciplines may be going only so-so, but Lent is going great. I hope it is for you, too. It has steadied my feet so that I am ready to participate in an interfaithprayer for peace/an end to the war in Iraq. Lent has also given me conviction to participate in Step It Up, calling for an 80% reduction in carbon emission by 2050. Lent has been good for me. I am repenting - turning around, and I am finding God right before me calling me into new and wonderful life.

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