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Leaning into Lent

What a cruel coincidence for Ash Wednesday to fall on Valentine’s Day.

Hopefully, you didn’t ruin your Lenten fast by eating chocolates on day one (presuming that’s what you “gave up for Lent”)! Of course, Jesus never said anything about chocolate, so I like to believe it is good at any time. On Ash Wednesday, we hear Jesus speaking of three disciplines in Matthew 6: almsgiving, prayer, and fasting. What makes us think that these are exclusively Lenten disciplines? We can give to those in need at any time. We should certainly, “pray without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5:17). Fasting is a discipline for any occasion when we want to focus our attention on God.

The opportunity the Lent provides is that it is a season to be intentional.

Considering that Lent was originally a season of preparation for baptism at Easter, it provides all of us to renew our faith. Instead, of “giving something up” at Lent, I suggest we add something, or at least renew our faith. Perhaps you will add giving to your Lent – not necessarily giving to the church (we hope you do that already), but instead, giving to a need. It can be as simple as sending an extra gift to Episcopal Relief and Development, or a charity of your choice. If you have gotten out the habit of prayer – join us on Sunday for worship, you sign into one of our evening prayer offerings. Perhaps you can fast one meal a day or even skip your morning Starbucks. How about this – skip the coffee shop, spend the time you would have spent going there in prayer (try the Forward Movement website), and donate the money you would have spent to help those in need.

I urge you to lean into Lent, chocolate or not, and experience the love of God in Christ Jesus.

Grace and Peace,

Jerry +

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