|This season of Lent, these forty days (minus Sundays) between now and our Easter celebration is such a multifaceted time for us as disciples. The traditional practices the “church” has encouraged for our Lenten time is that of prayer, fasting, increased attention to the Word in the scriptures, and selfless/sacrificial giving. Truth be told, that’s a lot of spiritual activity to practice, taken all together. In Matthew, chapter 13, Jesus tells a teaching story known as the “parable of the Sower.” The seed-scatterer throws seed everywhere. Jesus says of the seed that falls on rocky ground: these are the people who gladly hear the message and accept it right away. But they don’t have deep roots, and they don’t last very long. As soon as life gets hard or the message gets them in trouble, they give up.
Dean Dadasdy, in a Lenten devotion writes: A father was asked to share his faith story at a Lenten Vespers. He spoke of losing his only son in the war in Afghanistan. His grief was still fresh. He wept as he spoke and we who worshiped wept with him. At the close he said, “Only the promises of God will get me through this.”
What marks the difference between those who break from the faith under pressure and those who hold fast? What makes spiritual survivors out of those who endure pain and lose? Is it courage? Is it fortitude? Jesus says it is depth, the seed of the Word so deeply rooted in heart and mind that we follow, even when it is hard.
It seems to me that each of those traditional Lenten practices will help us achieve what Jesus suggests for us, not only for the hard times but for every time in life…allowing the spirit of the Lord to go deeper and deeper into us. To be make people of greater depth of spirit.
So, this Lent feel free to choose whatever you sense from God will allow the Lord to make that “going deeper” happen for you…prayer, fasting, increased attention to the Word in the scriptures, selfless/ sacrificial giving or any combination thereof.
For after all, Lent’s primary focus for us individuals and as a community of disciples together is to become more and more a people of God with depth.
In His Name,
Rev. Jimmy Lee Werley