A popular notion of the season of Lent is that we must “give up something.” We are often asked, “What are you giving up for Lent?” Various responses are expected: red meat, sweets, or perhaps excess television or Internet browsing. Perhaps we need to give up that simplistic notion of Lent. Reflecting on some implications of Lent, liturgical scholars Hickman, Saliers, Stookey, and White write: “Lent is thus not giving up something but rather taking upon ourselves the intention and the receptivity to God’s grace so that we may worthily participate in the mystery of God-with-us.” “Intentionality” and “receptivity to God’s grace” are two things to take upon ourselves during Lent.
Intentionality in repentance, fellowship, prayer, fasting, Scripture meditation, acts of piety, acts of justice, and concentrating on our baptismal covenant are examples of things to “take upon ourselves.” … Evangelism as initiation into discipleship in response to the reign of God is primarily concerned with faith formation and not with membership recruitment or institutional survival. In partnership with the Holy Spirit, evangelism engages the whole people of God in habitual practices. (Jefferey L. Tribble, Sr.)
Good Folks, it is Friday, February 26, 2016. Where has February gone?
I came across the aforementioned quote in preparing for a recent sermon. I was profoundly affected by its perspective on responsibility. Two things that stand out for me: “Giving up or taking on something for Lent? And our “partnership with the Holy Spirit in habitual practices.”
I had a dear friend who gave up beer for Lent many years ago. He lost 40 pounds of weight. On Easter Sunday morning, as the sun was rising, he was in his backyard with a #10 washtub filled with ice and a case of his favorite beer. While most of us were preparing for our Easter morning rituals, my friend proceeded to his own ritual to celebrate his preconceived faithfulness to Lent. He died a few years later of cirrhosis of the liver. I believe that he missed Lent’s meaning.
It is often said, “I can’t take on anything else. My plate is full.” Yes, many live very busy and full lives; however, I believe that we are constantly supporting ministries that can continue to grow and bear fruit. And when that time comes when we are unable to move, or confined to a bed or any other situation that limits our ability to attend church on a regular basis…I would hope and pray that someone would bring me communion, a church bulletin, write me a note of encouragement or read me some scripture and give me hope that I am not forgotten. (No retirement age on this ministry)
We gather for such a few moments a week as a community of faith. These moments are precious and few. I encourage you to invite, call, or extend a hand of welcome. As Paul writes to the church in Corinth, … be strong and steady, always abounding in the Lord’s work, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever wasted… (I Corinthians 15:58, TLB)
See you Sunday. Don’t come by yourself, bring someone.
Blessings from Duncanville,
PS: Concert Series: Ensemble, tomorrow @7:00p.m. Free and open to the public.
PPS: 30 days to Easter. Services: 7am, 9am, &11am