Dear Friends in Christ,
Many of you may share my love for Frederick Buechner’s writing and “down to earth” theology. In one of his reflections about the season of Lent (which begins on Ash Wednesday, March 6) Buechner suggests that Lent is an invitation to examine who we are, what our lives are actually about, how we are growing and learning in our relationship with God and one another.
Rather than 40 days of giving something up, Lent can be an intentional time of reflection. Just as Jesus spent 40 days in the wilderness discerning who he was, we are invited to a similar journey. Ask yourself, with God’s help, what it means to be you…a beloved child of God?
Buechner offers the following questions to serve as a Lenten personal inventory. Perhaps take up one a week and really pray about it, journal, talk with a close friend, or make an appointment to see your clergy for a sacred conversation and prayer.
- When you look at your face in the mirror, what do you see in it that you most like; what do you see that is challenging or makes you sad?
- If you had one final message to leave to the handful of people who are most important to you, what would it be in twenty-five words or less?
- Of all the things you have done in your life, which is the one you would most like to undo? Which is the one that makes you happiest to remember?
- Is there any person in the world, or any cause, that, if circumstances called for it, you would be willing to die for?
- If this were the last day of your life, what would you do with it?
To hear yourself try to answer questions like these is to begin to hear something not only of who you are but of what you are becoming, how God is working in your life. Your answers may also reveal where you are stuck, what you view as failure. A season of humble, honest prayer and curiosity may lead to a desire to repent or forgive, and may reveal new seeds of hope for your present and your future. And as Buechner reminds us “something like Easter may be at the end.”
May this Lent be filled with unexpected blessings,