There is something comforting to me about the Lenten season. It is a time when we are reminded of our creatureliness. We can think very highly of ourselves, can’t we? We believe nature is a resource for us to use up. We think all the mysteries of the universe are available for our understanding. We expect happiness and prosperity. We think we can make it on our own, and we believe salvation is ours for the taking.
Lent reminds us none of this is true. We are created beings, creatures formed from dust and dirt. We cannot give life. The breath of life is blown into our lungs by our loving creator. Your life and mine is given as an intimate gift, and we are reminded during Lent that we have abused this precious gift. In the words of John Eldredge, we have surrendered it in pursuit of “less wild lovers.”
Can I invite you to consider practicing Lent with me this year? Would you be willing to fast from something, something that will be a genuine sacrifice? Not as an empty ritual but as a way of reminding ourselves through hunger and desire that we are creatures, from dust we come and to dust we will return. Let it be a reminder of our complete and utter dependence on God for life.
I would also like to invite you to go one step further. Can we commit during Lent to finding a spiritual discipline, just one discipline to practice on a daily basis? This Lent, let’s not only remind ourselves of our dependence on God, but let’s also dive headfirst into his love and grace.
You might choose to engage scripture more intentionally through lectio divina, memorization, or the inductive method. You can dedicate this season to prayer with breath prayer, contemplative prayer or the Examen. You may serve your neighbor with secret acts of kindness or engage community in a regular and intentional way.
If you would like some resources to explore specific disciplines, send me a message on facebook or twitter. I will be happy to help in any way I can. But if you are looking for a suggestion, can I recommend the practice I will be engaging this Lent, the prayer of the Examen? The Examen is a way of reviewing each day with God and cultivating a greater awareness of his presence in our everyday lives. This will be my practice for the season of Lent.
If you would like to join me in this, I can direct you to a wonderful resource. My friend Aaron Niequist is a gifted composer of liturgies. He has been practicing The Examen for some time with the guidance of a spiritual director, and he has just released a liturgy centered on this practice. If you are interested in joining me in this practice for the season of Lent, you can this resource here.