How do you get to Heaven? How do you get to Carnegie Hall?
Last week’s Bible Study took an interesting turn. We suddenly found ourselves asking, “Are we feeling moved to Fast during Lent?” Most of us grew up hearing about the practice of “giving something up” for Lent. Our group had just read a story in scripture that gives clues about WHY someone would practice their faith this way. Fasting—intentionally going without food—has been a spiritual practice throughout time. Faith Practices, or Spiritual Practices, intentionally make us uncomfortable, helping us to observe ourselves…how we live, our patterns, our habits—so that we might discover areas of our lives that have not been nurtured in a long time. So here we were, a bunch of folks who have not, generally, ever Fasted from something for Lent…and we feeling inspired by the idea.
Some of us felt like shopping is taking up too much time in our lives…so we dreamed of one day a week in which we did not participate in the constant, global act of “shopping.” How might it feel to have a day not burdened with spending and ordering and arranging and accruing? How much time and energy might that free up in your life…and what might you do with it?
Some of us feel we have zero time for ourselves, because there are so many demands made on our time. We’re caring for ourselves, our kids, our parents, our spouses, our house, our pets, our finances, our grandkids, our neighbors, our friends, our community, our church…there’s NO TIME for ourselves. So we imagined what it might be like to take an hour a week that is not for anyone but YOU. What would you have to give up to create that One Hour? What can you live without doing for 7 weeks?
How much time do I spend staring at my cell phone? A new program on my phone tells me I spend as much as 1/4 of each entire week on my phone. What else might God be calling me to do with 1/4 of my one, precious, wild life?
So for Lent this year, some of us are practicing Fasting. But it’s not a material fast…we’re not giving up food or physical luxuries or anything. We are practicing a Temporal Fast…giving up something that takes up too much of our time and attention, so we can give that time and attention back to areas of our life that truly need it.
If you don’t even know where to begin (Lent is in 2 days, how am I going to pick something in time??!!)…no need to panic. We’ve got you covered. We’re offering 7 Spiritual Practices throughout Lent: Forgive, Give generously, Discern, Replenish, Grieve, Embody and Belong. If you don’t know what else to do…just take the opportunity to practice doing one of these things each week until Easter Sunday…the day that we all should get to experience a sense of new life and new possibility.
Be forewarned: None of these practices come easy to us…and if you want to get serious about trying them out in your life, you probably will have to give up some things you usually do…but some of us will have an easier time knowing what to fast from if we know what we are trying to replace it with.
This is a journey we have the opportunity to share…in its challenges, its triumphs and its new discoveries. Through Easter Morning, we’ll gather together every Sunday at 8:00 and 10:00, each Wednesday at 7:00p.m. (check to see what church is hosting the worship service each week), online and in person Monday-Friday, reserving at least one day a week for rest and replenishment…and you are welcome to journey with us, whoever you are, wherever you are…whenever you’re ready.