"...I am fully alive and flying with faith soaring above the clouds creating what will be from what is not yet and meeting God in me and all around me. I dance with the doubt so I can fly with the faith."
From "Dancing Into Doubt, Flying Into Faith" Diana Wilcox ⓒ 2010

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

What Do I "Do" For Lent?

Whenever we get to Lent, the question most often pondered is "what do I give up"?  Before we consider this, I think it is important to understand the purpose of Lent.  It is a time of preparation and repentance.  By repentance, it is meant a turning back in mind and heart to God.  By preparation, it was originally a time of preparation for baptism at the Great Vigil of Easter, and now it still can be, but is more a preparation and contemplation on Christ's journey to Jerusalem and the cross, and our own personal relationship with God.

So, back to "what to do"... I don't ascribe to the idea that the only way to observe a Holy Lent is to give up something.  Giving up something has been a way to have us think about what is really important, so it is one way to observe Lent, but one can also give up by giving back.  I offer the following "Top Ten" alternatives for Lent:

  1. Buy a can of food every time you go to the grocery store, and at the end of Lent, deliver them all to a local food pantry.
  2. Stop using the "F" "B" or "N" word on Facebook.
  3. Don't post anything on Facebook that is negative about another human being.
  4. Spend fifteen minutes in the morning, and again at night, thanking God for a new day of possibilities, and for another day of living.
  5. Give blood, work in a soup kitchen one day, raise money for a charity.
  6. Commit to keeping your eyes open to the workings of God in the world each day.
  7. Reach out to an elderly family member, or a friend you haven't been in touch with (especially if you parted badly).
  8. Get up to see the sunrise, or make it a point to see it set.
  9. Do a daily spiritual practice (meditation, prayer, walking).
  10. Go on a carbon fast - give up one item each day that contributes to destruction of our environment.  Possibilities are:
    • Change a light bulb to a more energy efficient one.
    • Cut down on using plastic bags.
    • Walk rather than drive.
    • Unplug your chargers when not in use.
    • Choose a day each week when no electronics will be charged.
Use one of these "top ten"each day, rotate through them, or add a few of your own (and let us know what they are).  Most especially, open your heart each and every day to God, who loves you for all that you are, for all that you have been, and for all that you will grow to be. 

Wishing you all the blessings of a Holy Lent.


Chaplain Diana