From Barbara Wahlbrink, Director of Communications …
Lent is a time when we think of giving something up, as a daily reminder of Jesus’ love and sacrifice. But what if we did the opposite?
One Lenten season I had a new thought. Instead of giving up chocolate or something else well-meaning but not too meaningful, what if I added something: a quiet time to my mornings during those 40 days, a time set aside daily to spend alone with God? Could I do it, just for Lent? It was the seed of a practice that I continue to this day. Adding something was a blessing that helped me grow long after that season was over.
Lately, I’ve been asking for God’s peace – a constant and pretty simple prayer. As Lent approached, a wise friend pointed me to the words of Thomas a Kempis, a 15th century monk whose life on earth was simple and unremarkable, yet his writings remain notable today.
I was drawn to Thomas’ thoughts on what we must do to find God’s peace: 1) strive to do another’s will rather than your own; 2) choose always to have less than more; 3) seek the lower places in life, dying to the need to be recognized and important; and 4) always and in everything desire that the will of God be completely fulfilled in you.
Wow! Simple, but powerful. Not exactly the way of our world today, but what if it could be? I wrote those words on an index card and am keeping it close at hand. Now, as I ask for peace, I’m also doing my best to follow Thomas’ advice on how to find it. It’s not easy to do these things but I am noticing that thinking about the higher purpose makes it all a little more likely. And I pray that the habits will take hold. Maybe it’s time in these 40 days to do some “simple addition” in your life too – for Lent and beyond?