Into the Wilderness
The season of Lent begins in just two days. To quote the United Methodist Church:
Lent is a season of forty days, not counting Sundays, which begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Saturday. Lent comes from the Anglo Saxon word lencten, which means “spring.” The forty days represents the time Jesus spent in the wilderness, enduring the temptation of Satan and preparing to begin his ministry.
Lent is a time of repentance, fasting, and preparation for the coming of Easter. It is a time of self-examination and reflection …
This year more than any I can remember in the past, I find more weight in the importance of personally observing Lent.
- This year, I am literally preparing for ministry as I look forward to a pastoral appointment by July 1.
- This will (hopefully) be the last year I can fully withdraw to observe Lent for a long time (again, hopefully).
- This year, with the volatility and vitriol of its politics and issues, I have much for which I need to repent.
Retreating to an actual wilderness isn’t an option and, honestly, would possibly seem more like a vacation from the hustle, bustle, worries, and world. When you have a family, a home, a fulltime job, and all the responsibilities that go with those, though, it’s an option few can exercise.
The “wilderness” I’m heading to is more virtual. I will be retreating from the world I know best and in which I spend too much time – Social Media – and into a world with which I need to reacquaint myself – the real, in your face, this is reality folks world.
Beyond posts for my church that I’d already obligated myself to (mostly graphic reminders of upcoming services and activities) and posts from any articles or pieces I add here on my blog (actually posted via the sharing buttons on the article; I don’t have to physically visit the social media sites to do that), I won’t be reading or otherwise engaging in conversations, opinions or other information posted on social media.
My goal is to reclaim my time with God; to find and give up the “things” that prevent me from making Him first and foremost in my life; to spend the next forty-six days praying, studying the Word, reading the works of others who studied the Word, reflecting on things I need to do or change to be useful to God, and to, with God’s help, learn better ways to engage others when my fast ends.
If you haven’t already, I hope you’ll spend some time between now and Ash Wednesday thinking about ways that you can reclaim your time with God. In the meanwhile …
Peace be with you during this coming season. May you find a wilderness of your own, may you journey into it with hope and joy that, in spending this season there, you will become better prepared to accept, celebrate and embrace the gift of grace that we were all given through the life, ministry, sacrifice, death, and resurrection of Christ Jesus. You are in my prayers this season and always.