This line from a famous sermon by Reverend S. M. Lockwood fits us today, as we are in the midst of Lent, the period of 40 days before Easter. Are we remembering Jesus’ fasting and temptation in the wilderness? Have we already broken the fast we planned? Eaten the cookies we said we wouldn’t eat, etc.? We are not alone. How can we continue in practical ways, to remember Jesus’ suffering and “die” with him, then join to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection later this month?
Let’s renew our commitment to focus on things important to God. Perhaps you have your own sense of God’s focus for you; that’s great. Here are some other ideas:
“Fast” for God’s creation: Remembering our biblical call to care for God’s earth and vulnerable people, Erin Wathen lists seven things to give up or reduce during Lent: Choose one or more of these:
1. Meat (do we know how much of our meat and chicken comes from China?) 2. Take-out meals (use more throw-away containers)
3. Single-use plastic (how many water bottles per day / week do we use?)
4. Cheap coffee (often grown by people kept in slavery; buy “fair trade”
5. Stuff (clear your space, clear your mind, clear your life…)
6. Paper (avoid using more than necessary, recycle, de-clutter)
7. Driving (walk more, drive less).
Pray a “Daily Examen,” a Jesuit discipline in which we review our day and find the movement of God in all the people and events of our day: Sit quietly and reflectively. Make notes in a journal, if you wish:
Begin with a pause and a slow, deep breath or two;
Thanksgiving: What am I especially grateful for in the past day?
The gift of another day * The love and support I have received * The courage I have mustered * An event that took place today…
Petition: I am about to review my day; I ask for the light to know God and to know myself as God sees me.
Review: Where have I felt true joy today? * What has troubled me today? What has challenged me today? * Where and when did I pause today? Have I noticed God’s presence in any of this?
Response: In light of my review, what is my response to the God of my life?
A Look Ahead: As I look ahead, what comes to mind? With what spirit do I want to enter tomorrow?
See you in church!
Pastor Nancy Ebner