Thoughts at the Beginning of Lent

3 thoughts on “Thoughts at the Beginning of Lent”

  1. This is a beautiful and powerful writing dear friend. I’m trying to reblog it for my God in the World blog, but no luck so far. Hope you are healing beautifully.

    On Sat, Feb 25, 2017 at 10:36 AM, prayers of my heart, a collection of articles and writings by Alicia Randolph Rapking wrote:

    > arrapking posted: “Thoughts at the Beginning of Lent By Rev. Alicia > Randolph Rapking On Wednesday of this week we arrive at the beginning of > Lent, that period of time for spiritual reflection of our lives and > spiritual preparation for resurrection morning when once again w” > Respond to this post by replying above this line > New post on *prayers of my heart, a collection of articles and writings > by Alicia Randolph Rapking* > Thoughts > at the Beginning of Lent > by > arrapking > > Thoughts at the Beginning of Lent > By Rev. Alicia Randolph Rapking > > On Wednesday of this week we arrive at the beginning of Lent, that period > of time for spiritual reflection of our lives and spiritual preparation for > resurrection morning when once again we are reminded that Christ is alive > and death has been swallowed up in victory of eternal life. > > This year we begin Lent in the midst of the most conflicted climate that I > can ever remember in my lifetime. There is worldwide danger, worldwide > hatred, worldwide division and derision. People are feeling anxious for > their safety, anxious for their way of life, anxious for their futures. > Closer to home the issues of education, healthcare, human rights are in the > midsts of conversations everywhere and probably disagreement about these > issues has never been more prevalent. And while the words of Jesus, that > come to us through the gospels are clear—words that caution us about > putting ourselves and desires first, words that plead with us to treat our > neighbors with love and respect and compassion—there are so many > interpretations that the factions of Christianity are using to put forth > agendas, each claiming to be right. How Jesus must sigh over us. > > Indeed, this year we are at a perfect moment to begin to think about Lent > and reflect on our lives, confess our sins, both corporate and individual, > and repent. > This year, more than ever, we need Lent. > > One of my favorite stories to use in thinking about Lent is one that I > have probably used in this column before. It is an old story about a man > from a city who was out driving one day in the country. The signs on the > road were confusing to the man and he got lost. So he stopped at a > farmhouse to ask directions. “Can you tell me how far it is to the town of > Mill Pond?” he asked. > > “Well,” said the old farmer. “The way you’re going it’s about 24,996 > miles. But if you turn around, it’s about four.” > > And in the answer of the farmer is a lesson for us about lent. Repentance > is a greek word that means to turn around 180 degrees. Lent is about > examining our lives in light of our relationship with Jesus and making a > decision once again about following Jesus down a difficult road where there > are roadblocks and detours making our way difficult. And, at the end of the > journey is a cross, where our Lord Jesus is crucified. > > Since it is Lent, Jesus is making that journey anyway, for you and me and > for the whole world. We have to decide if we are going to follow or not. > > We may decide NOT to follow Jesus this year, but to keep going on the easy > way, the way that everyone else is going. I hope not, because the easy way > results in more fear, more danger, more hatred, more pain and anguish, more > division. > > We may decide TO follow Jesus this year, but if we make that decision to > follow Jesus, to be a part of this journey, then we have to examine our > lives and think long and hard about our journey and our lives. Are we going > to travel along the 24,996 easy miles or are we going to turn our lives > around, discover where we have failed > God and humanity and ourselves, confess our sins, ask for forgiveness and > travel those difficult four miles to center of our faith–the cross. > > What are we going to do? It is not as easy a decision as many think that > it is. There are those who would say “Ah, just decide on something to give > up and be done with it.” They don’t really understand what the season is > all about. Like my friend in college who decided to give up chocolate and > instead found herself eating more and more of another kind of candy which > she essentially substituted. > > To make this decision, we have to make a commitment. A commitment to > something far bigger and more important than ourselves–a commitment to God > and to all of God’s children. > > Flannery O’Conner stated the conditi

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