Today’s Fastnacht Day in PA Dutch Country (referred to by other traditions/regions, some with much more enthusiastic traditions, as Fat Tuesday or Shrove Tuesday) and the celebration of it emphasizes stuffing our bodies with wants before entering the sacrificial lock down of the religious practice of Lent.
By contrast I look at Lent from the radical, relational lens of seeking God the Father — one shared by the people of God throughout the Biblical story — finding its fulfillment in Jesus the Christ through His inauguration of the Kingdom of God, death, resurrection, ascension to Lordship, the gifting of the daily redemptive Presence of God through the Holy Spirit (which dwells within the Body of Christ by the grace of God the Father and the Son). … and the New Heavens and the New Earth. To God be the glory! Forgive me, I’ve gotten a little carried away. Lent ends in Holy Week where we focus upon the final days of Jesus the Christ’s earthly ministry and his death/resurrection.
a time for “confrontation with the false self” (Thomas Keating) when we reflect on the responses and behaviours we exhibit that are least Christ like and seek God’s help in rededicating ourselves to God and God’s purposes.This is a time for self-denial and fasting when we give up some of the comforts of our lives in order to make ourselves more available to God.
If you practice Lent, please take a few minutes to share some reflections regarding the Lenten journey, how the lessons learned (and life lived) apply to campus life/vocation, and recommended resources (on-line and/or in print) for the blog’s readership.
Interested in a glimpse from our family? We have committed to Christine Sine‘s 2009 Lenten Guide: A Journey Into Wholeness. Last night we considered What Is Lent Anyway? followed by watching and discussing the Reflection for Lent youtube video. Our nine year old twins particularly have interest in the Mutunga Challenge, i.e., each person in the family eating for under $2.00 a day for 1 week of Lent (and then carrying over this challenge into the rest life giving the difference of money spent to support the poor in Africa, the Caribbean and Guyana). Any campus fellowship’s ready for the Mutunga Challenge? Note: recipes can be found in the 2009 Lenten Guide: A Journey Into Wholeness.
When tucking the twins into bed, we explored Psalm 51 and purpose of the Ash Wednesday Cross based upon The Lenten Tree: Devotions for Children & Adults To Prepare for CHRIST’s DEATH and HIS RESURRECTION by Dean Lambert Smith. One of my daughters noticed that the other book I had with me, i.e., Bread and Wine: Readings for Lent and Easter, had a similar cover to Watch for the Light: Readings for Advent and Christmas — quite observant. I commend all of these resources. More coming over the course of the next 40+ days. Note: If you have interest in joining me on a Lenten Journey, possibly for the first time, let me know.
Tom enjoys daily conversations regarding living out the Biblical Story with his wife Theresa and their four girls, around the block, at Elizabethtown Brethren in Christ Church (where he teaches adult electives and co-leads a small group), among healthcare professionals as the South Central PA Area Director for the Christian Medical & Dental Associations (CMDA), and in higher ed as a volunteer with the Emerging Scholars Network (ESN). The Christian Medical Society / CMDA at Penn State College of Medicine is the hub of his ministry with CMDA. Note: Tom served with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship / USA for 20+ years, including 6+ years as the Associate Director of ESN. He has written for the ESN blog from its launch in August 2008. He has studied Biology (B.S.), Higher Education (M.A.), Spiritual Direction (Certificate), Spiritual Formation (M.A.R.), Ministry to Emerging Generations (D.Min.). To God be the glory!