Preparing to Give – Reflection for 3 March 2019
Two weeks ago, I invited us to begin preparing for Lent by examining how we resist the work of God and choose blindness and self-deception. Last week, the invitation was to prepare to receive the healing and the sacrifice of Christ as we look forward to walking with Christ during Holy Week. This week, I invite you to consider what and how you will give during Lent.
For many of us who grew up outside of a liturgical tradition, Lent was a season where other people gave up chocolate or some other luxury. Perhaps we even looked down on the showiness of this public devotion or made light of it by declaring that we were giving up broccoli or something else we didn’t like. Instead of “giving up” something for Lent, I invite you to consider what you might give.
Perhaps you will consider giving the doubts and fears that separate you from God to Christ. Perhaps you will consider giving the lies, deceptions, and half-truths that you have come to believe about yourself, the people around you, and even about God to the source of all Truth.
You might consider giving yourself time to encounter God in prayer. This could be a season in which you give yourself a daily time of prayer or a season in which you give yourself the experience of a new type of prayer. This could be the twenty minutes of Morning or Evening Prayer, the five minutes of Compline, or one of the other liturgies contained within the Family Prayers. Outside of the Prayer Book tradition, this could be giving yourself a time of silent prayer or a time for the daily examen. It could also mean a weekly devotion specifically for this season such as walking the Stations of the Cross on Fridays.
Finally, I invite you to consider how you might give yourself to others during this season of Lent. Perhaps you will give a monetary gift to a charity that helps the poor. You might also consider donating clothes or hygiene kits for the poor, refugees, or deployed Soldiers. You could consider giving your time as a volunteer.
As we enter into Lent this Wednesday with the imposition of ashes, I pray that each of us will find this a season of growth and revelation, a season in which we will encounter Truth and by the power and leading of the Holy Spirit receive the gifts God has prepared for us and give freely of this love.