I love the season of Lent because it just feels so true to me.
In so many other areas of life, there is a pressure to “be okay.” Cheerfulness or stoicism on the surface masks more tender spots underneath. Not many people go around saying, “Wow, I feel really far from joy this week.” Or, “I don’t remember the last time I felt really connected with another person.” It’s easier to protect those spots that really feel alone, ashamed, scared, insecure.
But the truth is that we all carry those tender spots with us. Because there is this big gap between the life that God made for us, and the life we find ourselves living.
All of us were created for fullness of joy and community with God, love and solidarity with one another, and harmony with the earth. But the sin and brokenness all around us makes that life impossible. And that external sin and brokenness takes root even within us, so that neither our insides nor our outsides match the life of freedom and justice that God intended.
In worship on Ash Wednesday, we tell the truth about those broken places. And in the same breath, we invite each other to “the discipline of Lent.”
At the most basic level, this is an invitation to resist the evil that draws us away from God, each other, and creation, and instead to draw nearer. Historically, the church has centered around three main practices during Lent: self-examination and repentance; prayer and fasting; and sacrificial giving and works of love.
As the church around the world prepares to enter the season of Lent, St. Luke’s has decided that our community’s focus will be on Fasting from individualism, Feasting on community. We’ll explore that theme in preaching and testimony, midweek worship and study, shared meals and important conversations.
But I wonder about you, personally. Your own life and practice of faith.
What would it look like for you to tell the truth this Lent, about the things that draw you away from fullness of life? To examine the things that are broken in the world around you, and create tender brokenness in your heart, too.
How might it be possible for you to draw nearer to God, to one another, to the earth? To mend the places that are broken; to connect the places that are alone; to care for the places of pain or shame.
This is a radical and visionary season of the church year. Because even while Lent tells the hard truth about our lives-as-they-are, our Lenten disciplines proclaim that it doesn’t have to be this way! There is a life-as-it-should-be, perfect communion and freedom, that is just around the corner. And we were made for that life!
Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, March 6th.
And to this discipline —
resisting evil and practicing life-as-it-should-be —
You are invited.