Today is Shrove Tuesday, Mardi Gras in New Orleans and Pancake supper night in many homes and churches as Christians prepare for the leaner days of Lent. Using up the household fat and indulging in fattening foods such as Packzies and King Cakes and the like has been the tradition of this day. The revelries of this day and night mark the beginning of the season of ashes and penitence, observing spiritual disciplines such as prayer, fasting and alms giving. For forty days, not counting Sundays, we journey through the wilderness of Lent filled with all the temptations and distractions a 21st Century world may throw our way.
Many folks will give something up, a favorite food, lunch out once a week, video games, an hour or two of television per week, or any activity that would be missed enough to make the desire for it real. A form of fasting, giving up something may be powerful for some and in many cases giving of oneself is even more powerful, giving to charity, volunteering for a community good, beginning a Bible Study or simply adding prayer into your daily routine.
This year, I am giving up negativity for lent and giving positiveness an even greater role in my life. I’m beginning a Negativity Fast. Less unkind, critical or judgmental words coming from my mouth is the goal for my Lenten Discipline. More hope, more understanding, more listening, more caring, more mercy, more encouragement for those I come into contact with every day. Before you think this will be easy, I ask you to kindly remember this is an election year.
I want to invite you to join me in this fast of negativity. Whatever is in your past, be it 25yrs ago or 25minutes ago. Leave it there and fill your future with hope, with God’s unconditional acceptance of you, with peace knowing that the past does not define the future. God has a future filled with blessing and all we have to do to make it so is choose to live as those who know the Good News of Jesus. Prayer will help us. Morning, Noon and night pray for God’s joy to guide your thoughts, your decisions, and your words.
Whatever “fasting” you choose, whatever act of confession/forgiveness you choose, whatever prayers you choose for your Lenten journey, I pray you have a meaningful Lent and you are drawn closer to God each day.
Peace & Joy, Robert