Preparing for Lent
Every Lent, we are invited by the Church to enter the practices of prayer, almsgiving and fasting. These disciplines imply a denying of time, food or resources that I would otherwise spend on myself. However, the key to these disciplines is the transfer of focus from self to another. Lent is not about denying oneself simply to be miserable for a period or to see how strong I am. Rather, Lent is about encountering another. It is about opening myself up to something or more specifically “Someone” greater.
This Lent we will journey through a preaching series entitled Something Greater. We will look at the desert experience that invites us to focus on what is essential in our life. We will be challenged to look at God in a new way who is utterly “for us.” In addressing our choices for less, the presenting option from God is always to choose more in Him.
To set up success, the church invites us into disciplines or practices that set up a certain disposition of the heart to receive greater from God. Prayer is a choice to give the precious gift of time to God with the desire to meet God in this time. We choose to order our heart, mind and all awareness to the heart of God that we may encounter someone greater than ourselves.
In almsgiving, we give money to the poor and needy around us. We stop and intentionally move our gaze to those around us to notice that there may be others with greater needs than ourselves. Very often we can spend time taking care of our wants when others are struggling to provide for their needs.
Finally, in fasting, we don’t deny ourselves food, drink or other everyday habits because they are typically bad for us. Rather, it’s a choice to deny our hunger and thirsts for earthly things so our deeper hunger and thirsts for God can come to the surface. Psalm 42:2 says, “My soul thirsts for God, the living God.” In fasting we are choosing to say “no” in order to say “yes” to something greater that is there always in our midst.
Lent is about being available for something greater: God and others. Let us pray for the grace to humbly journey together this Lent season.