This post started out as a Lenten meditation last year (2008) and because the most popular entry on Sacred Pauses
I repeat it here in its entirety because every time I hear this song, I hear my own personal calling from God – my place as a Minister in his kingdom – particularly that highlighted last verse.
– Alleluia, Amen!
How’s your Lenten season coming along?
For those in the Christian tradition, we are in the middle of the 40 days of self-examination, prayer, (and for some, self-denial) that leads up to the Easter season.
I’m sure you hear a lot about “Giving up [ X ] for Lent.” Did you know that another part of the season is to also take on something new during the season? Self-denial by giving up something like chocolate (I personally can’t imagine) for Lent: most practitioners make it that far, but then how many also pick up? And of them, how many pick up something as difficult as giving up chocolate for 40 days?
The challenge is then to keep with that resolution, much the same as the ones that we announce and then summarily drop at New Years because they are missing a little plan and a lot of follow-through.
Only in this case you’re picking up/lying down for only a 40 day “season,” not the entire year. (That pulls away a lot of excuses about no time/too difficult/I forgot, etc.)
For six weeks in this season: can you give up something that will help others, or help yourself in your own spiritual life? And might you pick up something that will last much longer in its helpfulness than these short few weeks of Lent?
If you’re not a practitioner of this particular faith practice, consider today what you could lay aside from your life for a few weeks to help others… to help yourself. Think about what extra service to others or private spiritual practice you could pick up (try out?) for six weeks, to bring you farther along in your spiritual lifequest.
I’d love to hear how you’re doing with that.
What we are doing, each one of us as a member of the body of Christ (no exceptions and no excuses!) is to help build our part of the Kingdom of God both here and above. A “Kingdom” built simply on the love that put us all here in the first place. No battles. No Gihads. No “love the sinner/hate the sin” bs, which is nothing more than an excuse to “hate the sin and exclude the sinner.” Don’t do it: that puts your soul at great peril!
Forty days to examine what we can each do to be a part of the greater loving Kingdom, whether you are of the Christian faith or not. Whether you have a religious stripe or not. What will you do today, the next forty days, the rest of your life, to make the world a better place for all?
I’m inspired today by a lyric written by Gloria Gaither some years ago, that was recently published in a new performance video. The lyrics are sung to the hymn tune Finlandia (“Be Still My Soul”)
The final verse is my favorite and something that I use as a prayer now, even outside the musical version here: Dear God – help to build your loving Kindom through my love of others. Feed a starving world through me. (I’ve italicized that portion of the lyrics below)
Asking that the Almighty lead you to be honorable in your procession through life… It’s tough to hate and exclude when you walk behind a banner like that!
TEXT: Gloria Gaither, 1981