Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Considering Lent

In this Sunday’s service we will be discussing fasting and the upcoming season of Lent. Staring on Feb. 10 churches all over the world will begin their observance of Lent. This will also mark the first year that I, Pastor Austin, will be participating. I would like to invite all of you to consider observing Lent this year. Unfortunately just at the mention of a word like Lent many of you may start squirming and even have your blood boiling a little bit.

When I was growing up in the Bible belt as a broadly evangelical protestant—I remember first hearing about Lent when some friends of mine who belonged to higher tradition churches started to discuss what they were giving up that year. I was taken aback because these particular friends showed no signs of the Spirit working in their life and I was doubtful of spiritual growth in their lives, yet they were willingly involving themselves in a spiritual discipline.

Because of this I grew callous at the idea of Lent. It seemed like many people viewed it as a diet—I’m going to eat less sweets or stop drinking coke—or it seemed like people had the mindset of—I don’t read my bible, rarely go to church, and generally don’t carry the personal ethics that scripture commands, but I can look at this thing that I do and convince myself that I’m ok with God.

You won’t find the word Lent in scripture and its not commanded—but I want you all to see it as this—a spiritual discipline. A piece of wisdom of how we can grow spiritually. The idea behind Lent is that we will take the 40 days that precede Easter and give up something that would be common to our every day life. Rather than indulging in that thing, instead commit to prayer and reflect upon our lives being in God’s hands, and that our dependence is upon Him—that we look to Him for life, and Him alone.

It’s a discipline, a way to train our bodies, a way for our bodies to reflect a spiritual reality—and for us to grow closer to God in this time.

So this is an invitation, not a command. A challenge, not a requirement.

Consider taking something regular out of your diet—coffee, soda, meat, etc. Or what a lot of people are finding relevant these days is fasting from social media—getting off of facebook, twitter, or other platforms. Maybe fasting from TV, video games, or maybe even news outlets.

One additional challenge I’d like to give is this: refrain from advertising what you will be fasting from and asking others about their fast. Read Matthew 6:16-18 for advice on fasting.

So let’s remember this: Just because some would do this discipline in vain or out of impure motives, does not make this a bad exercise.

I hope you will all consider participating with me this year in Lent. We will be giving more information on Sunday, but if you have any questions please email me. ahilmer@westchestercares.org

Austin Hilmer

About the Author:
Austin serves on staff at Westchester as Associate Pastor of Corporate Worship

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