Every year, I watch the posts fly about what individuals are “giving up” for Lent. The crash diets and motivation to finally clean out the closets are worthy of being posted on social media, but I question if they really challenge us to understand the meaning of Lent and the sacrifice which we remember during Holy Week. As I pondered how I would approach this Lenten season, I decided that I wanted to turn things around in my own life and rather than give something up or give something away, I will take something on, just as Christ took on the sins of the world in his own death.
Over the next several weeks, I will strive to “take on” one new thing each week, in turn striving to take on more of the love and grace which Christ exhibited throughout his life, death, and resurrection. I hope that you will join me and share your own experiences!
17 Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message,
and the message is heard through the word about Christ.
Romans 10:17 (NIV)
There are four main types of spiritual and faith practices – social justice, head, heart, and mystic. The first two practices in this series focused on heart (loving your-self) and social justice (earth care). This week, I want to move toward the mystic corner of this spirituality and faith wheel.
I have to admit that this will likely be one of the harder weeks of Lent for me. I live a very busy, noisy, and fast paced life. Even in the car, I tend to have the radio on or call my sister to talk. Mystic spirituality leads an individual to slow down and bring more focus into their life. In some cases, it encourages the individual to find silence in the midst of chaos. It is both a dream of mine to enjoy this and a great fear!
While in seminary, a classmate made it a regular habit to take Saturday mornings to be quiet and have Sabbath time. As I think about how this might play out in my own life, I wonder how and when I can find the time to just be quiet! I think that is the challenge though – what am I doing in my life which can be set aside for a time of quiet, focused on listening to God through scripture and my life?
Over this next week, I hope to take 30 minutes of each day
to sit with one verse and simply listen –
not to the TV or radio, not to someone on the other end of the phone –
It can be quite difficult to have faith when God can’t be heard. So often we say that God isn’t listening or responding to our prayers. I have even found myself complaining about that recently. I wonder though, how much of God’s response do we miss because of the noise around us? How much of God’s Word for us do we miss because we only open the Bible on Sunday morning or when we are preparing to teach and preach?
A colleague recently suggested that the area of spirituality which makes us most uncomfortable might be where we need to spend the most time during Lent. I would venture to say that as our world grows busier and noisier, many of us might find that discomfort in the silence even as we crave it. I invite you to join me this week as we listen through the noise for God’s Word for us today! We just might be surprised at what God has been trying to say to us all along.
In the midst of the cheers and the laments,
You called back to us.
In the midst of the emails and the writing,
Your Word waited for us.
Calm our minds and open our ears,
quiet the storms and speak through silence.
We are listening, we want to hear.
Remind us that you are indeed near.
Rev. Jordan B. Davis (M.Div. ’14)
Associate Pastor, Youth & Young Adults
Kirk of Kildaire, Presbyterian (Cary, NC)