Readings are here.
Today we begin Lent – taking time for our spiritual lives. Traditionally we have given up things like chocolate or other candy, alcohol, meat, or other physical sacrifices. These are worthy things to do as each time we are are confronted with the thing we have given up we are reminded that it is Lent and a time for reflection on our spiritual journey. Taking on a spiritual discipline is another common practice. Daily reading of scripture, meditation, working for the Food Bank or some other agency that serves those with less, are some ideas. USA Today http://www.usatoday.com/news/religion/2011-03-01-Lent28_ST_N.htm noted this week that many are doing other activities for Lent. Some are doing a carbon fast – trying to use less electricity and more mass transit. UMC is encouraging all its members to give up alcohol – which Methodists are not supposed to drink in the first place – but to confront the use of it in their midst. I did that one year in solidarity with all who have abuse of alcohol issues. I was amazed then at how many tried to get me to take a drink. I think times have changed as everyone seems to offer alternative beverages now. Maybe that Lenten fast served a purpose – at least I hope so.
When we think of the words of Ash Wednesday - remember you are dust and to dust you shall return - remember that the scientists have learned that we are of the same dust as stars - so remember also you are stardust and to stardust you shall return.
This year I would like to share with you another way of looking at Lent – I used this a few years ago and I still like the ideals it puts forth – a way of keeping Lent that improves my relationships with others, the planet, myself and God.
Fast from judgment, Feast on compassion
Fast from greed, Feast on sharing
Fast from scarcity, Feast on abundance
Fast from fear, Feast on peace
Fast from lies, Feast on truth
Fast from gossip, Feast on praise
Fast from anxiety, Feast on patience
Fast from evil, Feast on kindness
Fast from apathy, Feast on engagement
Fast from discontent, Feast on gratitude
Fast from noise, Feast on silence
Fast from discouragement, Feast on hope
Fast from hatred, Feast on love
What will be your fast? What will be your feast?
After Bishop Arthur Lichtenberger