March 2017
From Pastor Paul

Indulge for Lent?

As we enter into the season of Lent, you might hear someone say, “What are you giving up for Lent?” The idea of sacrificing something during the season of Lent is an old one and it is often done to highlight our commitment to God and to show our dedication to purifying our body from bad to good. The most recognizable example is, Catholics will give up eating meat on Fridays during Lent as a way to show their commitment to God. (Some more devoted Catholics give up meat completely on Fridays, for the same reason.)

I never understood that practice; most friends that I had growing up who were Catholic, gave up things for Lent they didn’t really care for anyway. If you are going to give something up as a sacrifice then it should be something you’ll truly miss, like eating meat. Instead I challenge you to think about a different Lent discipline. Instead of giving up, why not indulge a little?  Why not add something?

Instead of taking away something you may not miss anyway, add something that you have never tried before or increase a productive spiritual practice you are already engaged in. For instance, if you already do 30 minutes of devotions a day, why not do 45, spending those extra 15 minutes praying for people you aren’t already. Pray for the “little things,” coming before God in childlike trust and feeling peace. Watch attentively for God’s answers to prayer, and receive them as reminders of his presence. Turn anxiety into prayer. As you frame concerns as prayers and entrust them to God, you “sacrifice” the tendency to wallow in worry. Perhaps you could add an additional devotion in your day.  This could be done by having extra devotions or attending Lenten worship services, or spend time outdoors, sensing God’s magnificence.

Last year, I brought up the idea to practice of 40 days of kindness.  Find a way to do something simple each day in an unexpected way.  Another idea might be to find a place that you can volunteer some time. If your first response is, “I don’t have time” then maybe you need to think about it again. Spending time with others, extending generosity and compassion. Remember Jesus’ promise that when you care for others, you care for him (Matthew 25:31-46). Only you know what is realistic but a Lent discipline needs to be something that will challenge you and help you to remember what God has done for you and continues to do for you.

Throughout the season of Lent we will explore ways that we put other priorities between us and God, how we justify our hesitation to committing to God completely and how God waits patiently for us to recognize the love that is being shared. During this Lent season put your focus completely on the cross and what God has done for us through Jesus Christ.

Blessings to you this Lent season!

Pr. Paul <><

p.s. Did you know?? You have the opportunity to increase or indulge by attending our Wednesday evening Soup Suppers with Eckert Presbyterian Church and Cedaredge United Methodist Church.  The season of Lent is not made up of several opportunities from which you may “pick and choose” what you want to attend.  It is about commitment and intentionality.  Each service is intended to be part of the total preparation time of Lent. Our first gathering will be at Eckert Presbyterian on March 8 starting 5:30 p.m. for Soup and worship will begin about 6:15. Please see the calendar for the rest of the schedule.