North Highland United Methodist Church
Monday, May 17, 2021
Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors

March 2014

Lent As a Spiritual Practice
Many of us have experienced several seasons of Lent, and in several ways. Lent is not about being miserable and sad in preparation of Good Friday, but a perfect time to focus on our spiritual lives and what affects our spirits.
Lent is a time to prepare for Easter. The remembrance of Christ’s death and resurrection will come on April 20th whether or not you or I have prepared. However, without our hearts being ready, we may not experience the depth and power of Christ's death and resurrection. While we are not required to give up something there may be something in our lives that if given up our spirits will experience a new openness to the Spirit of God. Because of our busy lives, personal experiences and modes of operation, we are sometimes rather oblivious to idea that we can unintentionally yet effectively block the free flow of the Holy Spirit through us.
Below is a list of disciplines (not a word with which we are all completely comfortable I suspect) yet when “taken on” may open us more fully to grace and the Spirit, bringing us into deeper alignment with God through Jesus Christ. Feel free to choose one or two (or create your own) that you can actually accomplish—share with another if that will help you stay on track—and allow the 40 days of Lent to be a time of personal growth.
Inward and Personal Disciplines
___ Spend time in solitude, prayer and reflection each day.
___ Read a book for inner growth.
___ Begin to keep a journal of prayer concerns, questions, reading.
___ Focus on thanksgiving, rather than on asking, in prayer.
___ Pray for someone with whom I need to be reconciled.
___ Give up a grudge or a rehearsal of a past life event.
___ Forgive someone who has hurt me; let go of the power that person has over me.
Outward and Social Disciplines
___ Plan to visit a "shut-in" neighbor or church member weekly.
___ Write a letter of affirmation once a week to a person who has touched my life.
___ Go to coffee or dinner with someone I want to know better.
___ Take a new look at creation and my part in it; begin or increase recycling efforts.
___ Say NO to something that is a waste of money and time.
___ Pray to help me resist racial prejudice and joking, and for courage in opposing it.
___ Let go of the spirit of criticism and become more aware of the words I say.
Peace and Blessings, Pastor Lou