The season of Lent is upon us.
Lent is a time designated for reflection, rejuvenation, and realignment. It is a chance for engagement as we seek to take on habits or practices that enrich our faith life and relationship with God. On the other hand, it is a chance for disengagement as we seek to let go of the things that keep us from living the life of faith God desires for us. Finally, it is a chance to do something new. Lent only lasts for so long and we know that Easter is coming (praise Jesus!) so it is a chance to open ourselves to something new for 6 weeks that helps us to encounter God in a new way and to celebrate what God is doing now, here, and with this: me.
Laura Thelander, Seminary Pastor at Luther Seminary, recently included the following story in Luther’s God Pause daily devotion (printed 12/5/2013):
There's a story about a group of Jewish students who were diligently preparing to become rabbis. Day after day they read and studied the Scriptures, pored over various interpretations of the law and prayed regularly together and on their own. One day their teacher told them, "Full experiences of God can never be planned or achieved. They are spontaneous moments of grace, almost accidental." His students couldn't believe what they were hearing. One of the students asked, "Rabbi, if experiencing God is just accidental, why do we work so hard doing all these spiritual practices?" The Rabbi replied, "So that we may be as accident-prone as possible."
This story is a great reminder that Lent is about making ourselves as accident-prone as possible to the work of God and God’s very presence in our midst. At its heart, Lent is about this awareness. Sure, it’s great to take on a Lenten discipline of reading a devotional or praying before your rise and lie down. It’s also great to give up unnecessary and unhealthy eating habits or connection to technology. We encourage you to do these things. But what would be even greater? Developing an awareness that allows you to fully experience God in whatever way that may be for you.
May those happy, grace-filled accidents find you each day.
Posted on Mon, March 31, 2014
by Nikki Fielder