“What are you giving up for Lent.” There’s more to Lent than just foregoing something enjoyable for six weeks.
Several years ago I bought into the Konmari plan for decluttering. Clothes were scattered across the floor from closets and rooms all over the house. Eventually the books were in piles in the living room. And with every new task, I found that recognizing my joy was coming easier and easier.
If you are not familiar with Marie Kondo’s method of cleaning out, it is a defined process to rid your home of anything that does not “spark joy,” and thus to clear away from your life all that would suck the joy out of living. Ask me. Yep, it works!
If it is appealing to you to remove the clutter from your life, then this is your holiday season: Lent. If you are spiritual but not religious, this season is tailor-made for you!
Lent is better understood as a short time to put all your life out on the floor and take a look at it. Pick up the pieces of your life and hold them for a moment. Then ask yourself one question:
Does this part of my life and identity produce good fruit--love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control?
If you would like a day-by-day guide for this journey, you can access a “Lenten Calendar.” In our tradition this calendar is coupled with a fish bank offering for kids and the collection is offered on Easter Sunday in a special church-wide offering to help others.
Join us in sacrificing a few minutes every day to de-clutter and rediscover your joy.
Much has been said about Sen. John McCain having reached across the aisle, about how he and Sen. Kennedy were friends, about his interrupting a supporter to stop a false narrative about his opponent, then future President Barack Obama. Almost without exception these narratives have been celebrated as a universal common good we should all strive towards.
Democrats and Republicans alike have affirmed this conviction. Yes, they actually agreed on something. And surprisingly, it was that our differences should not divide us.
Soon the reverie around the Senator will fade and his grave will settle, and that goal will recede thus leaving little more than a footnote to the narrative of McCain’s death and life. Once again we shall return to the habits of division we have been manipulated into upholding, even promulgating.
Christian—you have another option! You can make a different choice. You have the freedom in Christ to freely associate with those you would name, “sinner,” “outcast,” “undesirable,” “deplorable,” “illegal,” “alien,” “evil,” “different,” “not like us.”
Christian—Christ has set you free to accept yourselves and to love God and neighbor, and be bound together with all believers in the church. (Brief Statement of Faith)
This particular invitation is specifically directed to the members of the Church. What better place to demonstrate the unity of God and the reconciliation of all creation? Where else is God going to do this work if not in Christ’s own body, the church? Who else to proclaim the gospel of reconciliation if not the followers of the Risen Christ who is our reconciliation? If we in the body of Christ cannot hear and be the word that proclaims, “there is no longer [many] for you are all one in Christ Jesus,” then God’s word of full reconciliation will be fulfilled without us leading the Way.
Christ offers an invitation, a place to practice our unity. Christ invites us to supper. We don’t come to the Lord’s Supper because we have everything in common or because we all believe exactly the same things or because we have the same theology. We come because we have ONE thing in common: we are invited by our Savior, Jesus Christ.
On Sunday, come, all you who are weary, and let Christ give you rest. And don’t worry about who else is invited, just rejoice that your name is on the list! Christian, maybe, the world would take notice of our reaching across the table—if we actually did so.
Peace, Rev Bev
Week 6 March 19-25