By Rev. Rose M. Blank St. Paul United Methodist Church, La Porte City
Next week on Ash Wednesday, we begin the 40 day journey of the Lenten season as we prepare for the celebration of Easter. This season typically carries with it an invitation to intentional reflection on our spiritual life. Many people interpret this season as a somber time in the life of the church, and to a degree that is true. But it’s also a time to recognize the goodness of God’s grace that is alive in each of us – a grace that leads us home, as the old songwriter proclaims (John Newton, Amazing Grace). This same grace invites us to examine our lives and our priorities so that we might be more in touch with the life of Jesus Christ. The Lenten journey can become freeing and life-giving as God’s grace empowers us to let go of those things that bind us and consume us.
This letting go is a form of fasting which is one of the traditional Lenten spiritual disciplines. Years ago I received a list from a good friend of mine that was based on William Arthur Ward’s writing, Mind Fasting and Soul Feasting. He suggests that Lent “is a time to fast from certain things, and to feast on others. It is a season in which we should Fast from judging others; feast on Christ dwelling in them. Fast from emphasis on differences; feast on the unity of all life. Fast from words that pollute; feast on phrases that purify. Fast from discontent; feast on gratitude. Fast from anger; feast on patience.”
These are only some of the Fasts and Feasts on his list, but you get the idea. This Lenten journey is a time for us to be intentional in our focus on our spiritual life and well-being. During the weeks ahead, I encourage you to participate not only in this fasting and feasting, but becoming involved in other ways that will strengthen your life of faith and your practices of discipleship.
May this Lenten journey be one of growing in the grace and love of Christ. May it be so!