So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!
2 Corinthians 5:17
Fresh starts. Spring Cleaning. My hope and prayer for each of you as we begin this season of lent is that you will take to heart that lent is an invitation. It is an invitation to be intentional in growing spiritually. We often refer to these six weeks as a journey or a pilgrimage as we “travel” from Ask Wednesday to Good Friday. The beauty and mystery of this journey is that it is one in which you are invited to “grow where you are planted”.
A full life, a busy schedule, an uncertain diagnosis, the same old/same old, new to retirement, worn out with parenting, burnout at work, overwhelmed with family… in whatever place or state in which you may find yourself (and often there are multiple and shifting states we are in) God is with you. The Spirit is with you -in your trials and temptations, joys and triumphs, tribulations and everyday tasks.
This lenten season take to heart that we are continually being made new. The Spirit working and moving in us and through us- making us new. I appreciate this song's message of how beautiful things are made out of dust and beautiful things are being made in us. We are invited to experience each day as it comes, in the present moment. This is one of the challenges- to not be dreading the future or carrying around the baggage of the past.
We can reflect upon and learn from the past. We can make some plans for the future and trust that whatever the future holds, God will be there holding us. Twenty years ago (speaking of the past) I went to my first Bikram Hot Yoga. I had practiced other types of yoga over the years- but that hot yoga! I loved it. After about six weeks of attending classes I mentioned to an instructor that I appreciated a particular phrase he used that day. I shared how his adding that instruction helped me.
He gave me a “look”. He then told me that every class was exactly alike. Each instructor was required to memorize the script sot hat there wouldn’t be any variations of instructions, tips, or phrases. He then did add with kindness that maybe I heard it that time not because it was the first time it was spoken (which he was clear to indicate was not the case) but because I was ready to let it in.
A couple of weeks ago I was struggling to unclip from the exercise bike I ride. It was as though something I had learned early-on- I was forgetting how to do. It motivated me to sign up for an introductory/beginners series of classes where they would start with the very basic fundamentals. Over the past few weeks I have learned much more than how to more effectively unclip.
By being a beginner again, I am now learning what maybe I had forgotten or may not have ever really understood. This inspired me to invite all of us to “begin again” and let this be a fresh start. May this Lent and our 101 theme engage your heart and your mind and reawaken that still small voice within each one of us that has been formed to speak to us of God’s amazing grace and love. May grace and love, compassion and mercy be fuel for this pilgrimage and surround you each day. And watch that video at the top of this- it's amazing what can take place over 40 days!