…..from your Pastor’s Desk:
No, not the WWII battle or the Aircraft Carrier. You are mid-way through Lent. How is it going? Have you been able to maintain your Lenten resolutions? I find myself doing a series of ‘re-starts’. I think God is okay with that. We do the best we can. But you may be asking yourself; What if I’m at the midpoint of Lent and not much is going on? I began with the best of intentions, but I am not sure what I’m doing or what I want to be doing. Can my Lent be ‘rescued”? Can a six week journey be completed in the remaining three weeks – waiting for my heart to be open? Of course, the answer is “yes.” It doesn’t take long for God, when we are ready.
How to begin.
The first step to beginning again has already begun, if you have the desire for something real during Lent. A therapist once said that “we get better when we get tired of not being better.” This isn’t the same as “guilt.” Feeling guilty for not doing much about Lent won’t get us very far. What we need is a real desire – a real sense of expectation that God has something for me to hear, to learn, to change, and I want to be ready to listen. This desire can co-exist with fear, with resistance, with bad habits that have been obstacles in the past. God doesn’t need much of an opening to begin to free us and show us a transforming love.
A little desire is enough to shape deeper desires.
Once we can say we want to make something of these precious days remaining in Lent, then we can start naming some more specific desires. For some of us, it is obvious. There is a big, glaring self-defeating pattern staring us in the face. Most of the time, however, it takes a little reflection, a bit of honest examination of conscience to really see what is getting in the way of my being a follower of Jesus.
Lent begins again when I can say “Help me Lord!” Now I can turn to the Lord, with some real, concrete desires. Now I can practice waking up each morning and naming a specific (working on one at a time is fine) desire – while I’m getting out of bed, or taking a shower or getting dressed or even when enjoying that first cup of coffee. A prayer as simple as this:
“Lord, it feels so good to be honest with myself before you. Let me know your presence today. Help me face the challenges that will be there today. Give me some more freedom to make different choices, and act on the Graces you are giving me, to refrain from escaping, but rather to give myself to loving, as you have loved me.”
Imagine all the different prayers like that – one minute long – that would shape our day! With these desires to let God’s Grace transform me, then I can pause before going to bed each night, and look back through the day to thank God for the places I felt God’s presence and help.
What a joy that we have 3 weeks left! Let’s give Lent a new start in the days ahead. God is offering us more than we can ask or imagine.
Lenten Blessings and Grace,