Today is Ash Wednesday which marks the start of the Lenten Season on the Christian Calendar. Many people choose to engage in the spiritual discipline of giving something up during the season of lent in hopes of growing deeper in their connection with God. Some people give up television, social media, coffee or chocolate. Some choose to substitute these things by replacing them with something that will allow them to have more time to connect with God. For example, you could give up that 1 hour of television and choose to spend time reading scripture. Or you could give up that stop at a coffee house and donate the money you would spend to a non-profit.
This Lent when thinking about a Lenten practice I wanted to engage in I felt lost. The thought of giving something up was so challenging after 50 weeks of giving things up in this pandemic. I feel like this year we have given up so much in an effort to follow COVID-19 guidelines and physical distancing.
- Given up seeing family and friends
- Given up going out to restaurants and movies
- Given up traveling and exploring
- Given up worshiping together in our spiritual spaces
I know that I have chosen to give up these things because I feel it is the right thing to do in this moment we find ourselves. I am grateful to have a job that has adapted to the changes and family who are safe and healthy. But in living through this pandemic I have found that my well is dry. As we enter into this season of Lent I am looking for something to replenish my well.
One day I was scrolling through Instagram and I came across a post from my friend Lyndsey from seminary. She shared how she is going to be offering a time of spiritual connection during the Lenten season called Simple Lent. The first post read, “I’M EXHAUSTED is a complete prayer.” My chest tightened and I thought, “Amen. That is exactly how I feel.” As a pastor, one of my roles is to continually create spiritual spaces for people to connect with God. This is on of the things I enjoy most about being a pastor. But if I am honest, during this pandemic as we have adapted and changed how we do things I have found myself exhausted. Lyndsey’s Instagram photo caption shared, “It’s OK to notice how you are, tell God you hope they heard, and call that prayer. Intimacy with Creator begins by showing up honestly.” Deep down I knew this to be true but my heart has been weary and when I feel that way it can be easy to distance myself from God. As a way to shorten that distance I have chosen to engage in Lyndsey’s Simple Lent gatherings beginning this evening and every Sunday and to engage in the daily practice that she is going to share. In a recent Instagram Post, Lyndsey shares, “Simple lent — lent where we already are — noticing stillness, noticing togetherness, noticing solitude, noticing ome, noticing disruption, noticing care, and noticing loss.” If you would like to join the Simple Lent Gatherings then visit her website.
No matter what you choose to engage in this Lenten Season I pray that it fills your well and strengthens your connection with God.
~Pastor Alyssa Baker