Explore your path….
Christian definition of Spiritual Formation is “Your Pursuit of Christ Likeness”
Season of Lent
…time of repentance
While the season of Lent is first and foremost a time of reflecting on our relationship with God and on those places in our lives where we need to repent – those places we need to change direction – in order to draw closer to God, we rarely, if ever, hear anyone (including myself) talk about Lent from the perspective of repentance.
We often hear people talking with each other about giving up candy, movies,
television, bad language, ice cream or whatever they might think is a sacrifice; however, when was the last time you heard someone say, “I have been reflecting on my Lenten journey with God and believe God is calling me to repent in these particular areas of my life?”
Maybe that is because you are like me, and your basic understanding of repentance comes from sermons where we were told to repent because we are miserable, no good
sinners! I was sure that I was going to burn in hell if I didn’t repent, but for the life of me I did not know what I had done to bring about such wrath. Even if I could figure out some misdeed I had committed, since I didn’t know what it meant to repent, I still wasn’t sure what I could do about it. I think most of us struggle with what repentance means and how to practice it.
Repentance is not about beating ourselves up for our misdeeds and telling ourselves what miserable sinners we are. It is not even about saying we are sorry over and over again. To repent simply means to “turn around” – to move away from the people, places, things that diminish who we are and who we are called to be in the world and, with God’s help, move in a new direction – a direction that draws us closer to the fullness of God’s love.
I do not believe in a vengeful God, but I do believe in a God who confronts us,
challenges us and calls us to be accountable – to examine our lives – to repent – to change what needs to be changed. Why? Because God loves us. Because God wants healing and wholeness for our lives. Because, when we turn away from those fears, negative attitudes, activities, prejudices, jealousies and behaviors that weigh us down – that bring ourselves and others emotional and often physical pain – when we get rid of those poisonous toxins within us we will experience growth and new life no matter what the circumstances. This is what repentance is about – it is about new life – abundant life – life lived in the fullness of God’s love.
To experience the resurrected Christ this Easter, we have to do more than want it – we must prepare for it. Because the problem is, if we don’t spiritually prepare ourselves for Easter, we wind up with an Easter that is pleasing for the moment that lasts about as long as the trumpets blare, the hymns are sung and the Easter eggs are found.
Lent is a time of preparation. Let us begin today to prayerfully look at those places in our lives that we need to turn around – those places where God is calling us to act
differently, think differently and speak differently. Because it is only then that we will be ready to embrace the resurrected Christ and receive the gift of new life – the fullness of life that Easter brings.
Peace & blessings,