Thursday, March 9, 2017

A new Lenten discipline

In view of my previous Ethical Musings post about Rethinking Ash Wednesday, traditional Lenten practices of giving something up to demonstrate one’s true feelings of regret and penance for one’s sins or of taking on a new discipline to help one to sin less in the future by becoming a better Christian are outdated.
Instead, a more appropriate and spiritually helpful discipline is to commit to celebrating life daily, weekly, or at least once during Lent. This discipline is admittedly out of step with traditional ecclesiastical emphases on confessing one’s sins and penitence, e.g., many parishes will use (pp. 148-153, Book of Common Prayer) on Sundays during Lent. However, this discipline coheres with a twenty-first century understanding of Ash Wednesday and Lent.
Celebrating life can take many different forms; one’s imagination is the primary limiter of what is possible. Options include arranging a feast or night of lodging in a hotel for a homeless person, an outsize generous gift for a person who works for minimum wages or less, and adding a work of art to the life of another or to one’s own life. These ideas are intended to prime the pump of your imagination.

We are dust and to dust we shall return. We therefore share in the glitter, the reflected glory of the creator, visible in all creation. Similarly, we are also inherently part of something far vaster than the self. So celebrate life, for in doing so we celebrate the gift of creation and the Creator!

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