The season of Lent will soon be here. Some people could be wondering “what should I abstain from or give up in this season?“ It has been a time of reflection for me, and possibly for yourself as well. As we are still yet in a pandemic, there are many things that we love, need, and want. What is keenly felt is the lack of social gathering, and more so to the point, gathering for worship as a congregation. There is something, or may I say Someone, that defines us. Typically, in various Christian denominations, some Lenten guidelines include customs such as abstaining from meat, animal products, food in general, alcohol in any form, adding additional prayers to the day, additional acts of kindness and charity, just to name a few. Some may ponder and think, “Why would I give up something and cause myself hurt? I am already hurting.” This exercise for a rather sustained period of time, is not one in which God means to hurt us, but rather, to humble us. Once we become less dependent on the things of this world, even for a month or so, we become more aware of God’s presence in our lives to help us with something that challenges us all —change! That change can be one of giving instead of removing. This can be notably seen as the generous use of our time, talent, and treasure. As a wise pastor once told me “In God’s world change is inevitable but growth is optional.” Let’s tuck this expression away as we wonder what direction to head in this season of Lent. You may discover “a new leaf” as you allow God to do His pruning!
~ Mark Gibson