“Lent’s great gift to us is this activation of our God-given resources, as we conduct our work within ourselves, making room for new life.” ** Patric and Marsha Dawe, article in The Episcopal Network for Stewardship
For most of us who consider Lent it becomes a time to give something up. Giving up can be to take on a discipline that might also help us lose some extra winter weight, it could be seen as a punishment for our lack of restraint, but rarely is giving up something for Lent meant to prepare us for the work God has given us to do.
This Lenten season I invite us all to enter a time of making space for God to enter more deeply into our hearts and lives. I invite us to draw closer to God and discover the strength and love of God within us and in the world around us.
“The soul thrives on slowness, spaciousness, and stillness,” write Christine Paintner in The Wisdom of the Body.
First this Lent, let us consider spaciousness. As a first step to creating space for our soul and God to live closely together, we begin the process of unveiling unveil ourselves to God and to ourselves. How many of us have parts of ourselves we would rather not acknowledge and perhaps wish we had given up for Lent? [note: twice I gave up yelling at my children for Lent and noticed positive if not fully lasting change.]
During the coming six weeks, may we try spending time welcoming all the parts of ourselves to full view. One good method is the Welcoming Prayer developed by Mary Mrozowski.
- Focus on one’s body. Note aches, pains, both physical and emotional. Let these sink in and breath. Simply accept them.
- Intentionally invite feelings such as sorrow or anger without any resistance to the emotion. Often we want to push these away from us.
- Let go perhaps saying, “I offer up my [anger, sorrow] and give it to God.
Another option for making space is literally to clear out clothing and other items from our homes. Starting this Sunday we will have black trash bags available. Please take one after worship and consider placing an item of clothing or no longer needed household item in the bag. Bring it in for our Clothing Closet or Rummage Sale (sale dates April 5-7).
This Lent may we make space to allow God to enter more deeply into our hearts, our homes and our lives and be strengthened to love and serve God, opening ourselves and drawing closer to the heart of Jesus Christ