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Lenten Thoughts and Practices – Shawna R. B. Atteberry
Feb 052008
 

I found two artlices on Lent that I really enjoyed. The first one describes why Christians need to observe Lent, and the second one offers a Lenten discipline.

In Images of Lent, Ron Rolheiser says:

Religiously the richest image we have for lent is the image of the desert, of Jesus going into there voluntarily to fast and pray. Scripture tells us that Jesus went into the desert for forty days and, while there, he ate nothing. This doesn’t necessarily mean that, literally, he took no food or water during that time, but rather that he deprived himself of all physical supports (including food, water, enjoyments, distractions) that protected him from feeling, full force, his vulnerability, dependence, and need to surrender in deeper trust to God. And in doing this, we are told, he found himself hungry and consequently vulnerable to temptations from the devil – but also, by that same token, more open to God.

Scot McKnight at Jesus Creed challenges his readers to practice this discipline through Lent:

I am asking my blog’s readers to consider a challenge for Lent. No, it is not giving up anything. Instead, it helps move Lent into 40 days of living out the gospel: I am asking you to begin and end each day of Lent (beginning Wednesday) by reciting the Jesus Creed. And, whenever it comes to mind throughout the day, I am asking you to recite it again. In your evening recitation of the Jesus Creed, we are asking you to give some moments of recollection to confess any sins against the Jesus Creed throughout the day.

Here it is:

Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One.
Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.
The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself.
There is no commandment greater than these.

What we are discovering — in tune with the wisdom of ancient Israel’s recitation of Shema and the early church’s recitation of the Jesus Creed and the Lord’s Prayer — is that this sacred rhythm works love of God and love of others into the bones and sinews of each day. Who will take this challenge?

I hadn’t decided on a discipline for this Lent, so I am taking up Scot’s challenge. What about you? Is there anything you’re doing during Lent to draw closer to God?

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