Hello, Kanuga Friends! In this season of Lent we have invited The Rev. Richmond Jones to share a Lenten reflection with our blog readers.
Welcoming the Season of Lent
The season of Lent began here at Kanuga with an Ash Wednesday service for staff. It has been a wonderful opportunity for the community to begin this season of fasting and repentance with some education and worship. For those who are unfamiliar with Lent, I have focused on the idols that we, through our sins of selfishness, create and worship in our daily lives. It can be hard to realize we do it because we design our days to be filled to the brim. We often take little time to reflect on what we’re actually doing, and where our heart and soul has space to dwell with God in the midst of all the busy-ness.
What do you spend the most time doing each day? Working, scrolling social media, answering emails, watching television, living in the past, waiting for the future, eating, drinking, smoking, gossiping? Unfortunately, the list can go on because our hearts are hungry for love and for meaning. There is no shortage of cheap substitutions being sold to us by modern society. We often can’t help but surround ourselves with distractions from God because we’re taught to strive for security and comfort. However, scripture tells us that proximity and awareness of God is not comfort, but it is growth and change. We must constantly strive to make more room for God and let go of the superficial masks and costumes that we’re tricked into thinking make up our identity.
Asking Ourselves the Tough Questions
What keeps you removed from the present moment? What keeps you from seeing God in the person, the plants, the animals right around you now? Richard Rohr’s definition of true evil is anything which you may not question. What in our lives do we avoid questioning: Our upbringing, our faith, politicians, priests, news anchors, FaceBook, corporations, wealth? Why do we do the things we do?
Refocusing on God
While being led by the Spirit in the desert, the devil offered Jesus sustenance, fame and every good thing on Earth. Jesus denied the offers and instead, focused his heart on faith in God’s love. Just knowing God was near and always penetrating the present moment with love and grace was all the sustenance and reward he needed. As we walk through Lent we may find easy things let go of.
Nevertheless, there may be harder things to pry off. These are the evil things that have attached themselves onto our life. We can only remove them through God’s grace and by living into the powerful and cleansing love of God. Lent is our annual soul scrub. It can hurt at first. We must remove all the grime and grit that has built up. When we emerge on Easter Sunday, we are made to shine. As Paul told us, the light of Christ shines out through our hearts. I pray for you, in this season of Lent, to be able to be honest, present, and brave as you examine the life you live.