Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, so it’s not too late to decide what, if any, spiritual discipline you will observe during Lent. This is not just a Roman Catholic things, as I see people in all sorts of liturgical churches resolve to do some kind of Lenten discipline: giving up a favorite food, or TV, or going through a devotional or spiritual book, fasting, praying, etc.
I haven’t yet decided what I will do. But some of the best blogging I have read on the subject comes from Steven Riddle of Flos Carmeli.
In this post, he calls Lent an invitation to intimacy, and image that I love because it connotes something we do out of our love for God and not a sense of obligation. This is the part that spoke to me:
Lent is a time to consider all of our activities and to integrate them into the one goal of serving the Lord. This does not mean we abandon our entertainments necessarily, but that we refocus them and make them purposive. We don't stop jogging in the morning, because that is a good thing, oriented toward bodily health which in turn honors God and helps us to fulfill His purpose. But perhaps one changes one's route, or one's music, or one's thoughts during the time. Perhaps in the course of that regular routine, we allow ourselves the luxury of not listening to our iPods and our white noise, but we take in the ambient and begin to forge a new sense of creation.
The same goes with all other activities. If we like to cook, we do not stop cooking, but we cook with God in mind, perhaps envisioning Jesus as the house-guest we have awaited so long.
He gives repentance a positive spin. It’s not just a turning away from doing wrong. It’s a conscious turning of all we do to an offering unto the Lord.
In a later post, Riddle compares Lent to New Year’s — in that we make resolutions that are seldom if ever kept perfectly. When that happens, we have to remember that the purpose of Lent is to keep looking at Jesus, not at our own efforts.
And ultimately, Riddle writes, the best thing is to ask God in prayer what He would want you to do to observe Lent.