Observing Lent – Week One
At Kairos Los Angeles, we take the time to engage in Christian-Year Spirituality, where from Advent to Pentecost we observe the Christian Calendar together in order to remember and be shaped by the life, death and resurrection of Christ.
The Holy days (hol-i-days) we celebrate help to form us into who we are. Those of us living in the United States are in some ways being formed into American’s by observing the American calender with events such as the 4th of July, Thanksgiving, Presidents Day and so forth. Each of these days remind and reshape us in some fashion, usually in hidden ways.
I have found that as I observe the Christian Calender with my community it starts to re-shape and re-form me to be more like Jesus. At Kairos Los Angeles, we are currently observing the season of lent.
Lent is the season where as Robert Webber says in Ancient-Future Time, “A time to travel with Jesus toward his death. Lent s a time for repentance through self-examination and renewal through identificatioin with the journey of Jesus. A time for prayer, fasting and almsgiving.” In keeping with this theme, we are reflecting on the seven deadly sins during our weekly gatherings at Kairos Los Angeles. We started last week with a talk on gluttony. Lent begins Ash Wednesday (this past Wednesday), six-and-a-half weeks before Easter and ends at sunset on Thursday of Holy Week.
One of the ways to observe lent day by day is to read and reflect on a lenten guide. Christine Sine at Godspace has provided one that I am using this year, entitled A Journey into Wholeness. You can download a pdf file here and leave a leave a donation to Mustard Seed Associates for her labor of love.
She guides us through six themes, one for each week of lent.
Week One: Journey into the Brokennes of Our Inner Selves
Week Two: Journey into the Brokenness of Hunger
Week Three: Journey into the Brokenness of Homelessness
Week Four: Journey into the Brokenness of Creation
Week Five: Journey into the Brokenness of God’s Family
Holy Week: Journey from Palm Sunday to the Cross
The ideas is, as Christine says in her guide, “Over the next six weeks of Lent, as we journey with Christ toward the cross, we want to examine these areas of brokenness and explore how we can move closer to God and more effectively be God’s hands of healing and wholeness.” (From the Lenten Guide 2009). So let’s jump into some reflections for this first week of lent.
WEEK ONE: JOURNEY INTO THE BROKENNESS OF OUR INNER SELVES
The brokenness we find within ourselves is evident as we look at the things from which we suffer – from depression to anxiety, from spousal abuse to other forms of violence. Brokenness can reveal itself in many forms, including over-activity.
Peter Scazzero in his book The Emotional Healthy Church talks about the need to receive the gift of limits. He says, “In our brokenness, we begin to see that God has blessed us with limitiations that we must learn to embrace and receive instead of fight and deny. We were all born with certain limits, others were thrust upon us, and still others were a result of our own choices.”
One of the tools that has helped me to reflect on both my brokenness as well as given me thoughts to wholeness is the Enneagram. It is an ancient tool brought to North America through the Jesuits that I have shared with many people because of its value in growing in self awareness. I am a 3 on the Enneagram, which is often labeled as “An Achiever.” My basic fear is of being worthless and so I tempted to find my value and worth in my achievements and live an over-active life where I don’t receive the gift of limits on my life. This sometimes leads to not being able to fully keep all my commitments and thus inadvertently hurting others.
For me, one of the ways to move toward wholeness is to practice Sabbath and enter into a regular rhythm of rest and reflection. It is as I reflect on what Jesus has done and the future he has won for us – the new heaven and the new earth – that I enter into his rest. And as I enter into his rest and find my identity in him, I begin to share his life, his joy, his pain, and his vision for the world. As take the time to sit with him, he refills me, guides me, affirms me, encourages me and exhorts me. He helps me to see what he wants me to do and what he doesn’t want me to do. Through a rhythm of rest he helps me to find a deeper sense of acceptance in him, which in turn allows me to accept people where they are, with their limits and brokenness, which often leads me to be more patient and loving toward others.
It is in the time of sitting that I find the strength to walk and stand. It is in the time of sitting with him, that I can see who I am, where I am and where He wants me to go. It is in the time of sitting that I am re-energized to move toward wholeness within myself and join with Him in the renewal of all things.
Next week I will reflect on the Brokenness of Hunger and share with you ways that we can bring more wholeness in this area in our world.