In checking the RSS feeds of some of the blogs posting regular Lenten-themed entries this afternoon, I discovered two great related entries at the GodSpace and Story-Formed blogs.
Christine Sine’s post at GodSpace is Lent – Finding Freedom in the Desert. In reflecting on something she had read recently by Thomas Merton about what the 40 years in the desert taught the Israelites, Christine writes:
Adversity encourages mutuality, sharing, generosity and cooperation. It encourages us to take notice of the weak and vulnerable and hopefully to accept our responsibility to care for them. It writes the laws of God on our hearts not just on our minds. Something that we need to think about as we responds to the current recession. In fact I wonder if as a world society we are entering a season of Lent in which God wants us to be educated into the freedoms of life lived in a covenantal relationship with God. In From Anxiety and Greed to Milk and Honey a recent article in Sojourner’s magazine Walter Brueggemann reminds us that
Biblical faith is an invitation away from autonomy to covenantal existence that binds the self to the holy, faithful God and to neighbors who are members in a common economy.
This was the lesson of the 40 years in the wilderness for the children of Israel and it seems as though there has never been a better time to think about this than now. What do you think? What lenten lessons are you learning as a result of this recession that are enabling you to live in a way that is more representative of the kingdom of God culture?
Tara at the Story-Formed blog takes up the challenge of responding to Christine’s questions, and has posted some excellent reflections and a great prayer in her latest blog entry Investing 101:
What does it look like for me and my family to “share with God’s people who are in need”? And how do we get the resources into the hands of those in the family of God who are around the world? As these questions churn in me, I want our children to participate in the sharing as well. So what will that look like? AND as I ask God to “Search me, O God, and know my heart…” I know He is finding places in there that are miserly, calculating and hoarding. I want to “share” because He asks me to, but in the act of obedience I also want Him to transform my heart.
Lord, give us, Your church, a vision of what You desire from us during these economic times. Teach us to live with open hands and hilariously generous hearts and lives. May we give out of obedience and find that our hearts are changed as we share what we have with Your people. Give us eyes to see those who are in need and give us Your guidance as to how you would have us give. As we take care of one another, may the world see You and know that we are Yours by our love for one another. Amen.
I’m challenged and convicted by both of these blog entries, and reminded that it is very easy to spiritualize Lent and get so focused on our own personal relationship with the Lord that we lose sight of the real nuts and bolts practical outworking of living out our faith in our daily lives. How is the time we are spending with the Lord this Lent transforming our relationships with those around us and changing our priorities? I confess I personally am finding it hard to be cheerful in giving these days, feeling the squeeze in my own personal finances.
May the Lord continue to grant us grace this Lent to grow in holiness in all areas of our lives – in prayer, in worship, in overcoming areas of persistent sin, and in our growth in compassion and love for the needy around us.
(posted by KB)