What’s the difference between a flute and a stick? The stick is full of itself. The flute has been emptied of itself so that it can make beautiful music.
In a world where it is so easy to be “full of ourselves”, the invitation in Lent is for self-emptying so that our lives can make better music. The invitation is to make more room for God’s Spirit to freely flow in and through us.
All the major religions have an element of self-denial at their core. The Jewish community has Yom Kippur. Muslims have Ramadan. Christians have Lent.
In a world filled with clutter, noise and so much sheer nonsense, Lent is the invitation to step back and rethink how we think and live.
In a world of instant gratification, Lent invites us to feel the emptiness before we try to cover it up with food, shopping, busyness or 1001 other distractions. Lent invites us to learn the difference between what we think we want and our soul’s deepest needs and desire.In a world of gluttony and self-indulgence, Lent invites us to fast. Check out this invitation to fast from Pope Francis.
What would you add? How about:
*Fast from plastic and cherish the earth.
How might our lives change if you chose the discipline of even one of these invitations to fast?
In a world where virtual friends are replacing real ones, Lent is an invitation to turn off the TV and computer screen and spend time and connect face to face; reach out to those who are lonely.
The focus of this season is taking ourselves out of the center so that God might have a chance to inhabit that space. Lent is the invitation to repent which means to re-think, re-think our priorities, how we spend our time and how we are living our lives. Another meaning of the word repent is to return – to return to God – and to return God to God’s rightful place at the center of our lives.
If you give up something for Lent, give up whatever it is that is sucking the life out of you so that you can be filled with God, with love, with music, with life again. If you take something on for Lent, take on a practice that is life-giving and gives life to others, and one that will re-awaken your heart, soul and sense of purpose.
So, welcome to the journey of Lent. Are you a stick or a flute? How can we empty ourselves of those things that get in the way of experiencing the fullness of God’s love so that our lives make better music? You won’t want to miss this first Sunday of Lent in worship. As we join Jesus in the wilderness, I will be preaching on the biggest temptation we all face (spoiler alert: it’s not chocolate) and the one spiritual practice that changes everything. Honest…you’re going to want to be there and you might even want to invite friends.
May we journey with deep intention and hope in this season of Lent so that on Easter morning we not only sing our alleluia’s but our very lives make beautiful music. God knows this discordant world could use more beautiful music.
As always, grateful to journey with you,