Lent is the season leading up to Easter – it is 40 days and is often connected into Jesus 40 days in the desert. It is an opportunity to put something aside to draw closer to God. This is an opportunity for the whole church, young and old, to take time and think about how we would like to see things differently; what things get in the way of us just being with God. The key theme is about justice: justice towards God, justice towards self, and justice towards neighbour or our world.
These concepts are a great framework as we explore what is possible particularly when we are thinking about Emerging Generations.
Justice towards God encourages us to take time to connect more deeply with God. It might be about doing a bible study or a daily or weekly devotion or taking about a new spiritual practice. There are many great resources to reflect on but we do not need to be limited to traditional forms of practice.
A couple of years ago as a Lenten practice I decided to make time to draw the lectionary readings for the week. I did line work and then shared it with my congregation for them to colour in as part of their spiritual practice. The surprising thing was the insights I gained around the reading by trying to draw it into reality. I wonder what new insights we would gain if we invited the people of our church to draw a reflection on the lead up to Easter. Everyone has different gifts and ways to encounter God what if we were to share them as a community as we prepare ourselves for Easter.
Justice towards ourselves is about taking time to have a sober look at ourselves, and to be realistic about how we are going on our journey with God as followers of Jesus. It is a time to confess to God those things that we may be doing well but also those areas we could do better in and making a plan for change. For some people that is about needing to step up and do more, for some it is about stopping doing something that is not bringing honour to God, for some about stepping back and letting others have a go. I wonder how it would go if the first week of lent we were intentional about looking at our lives and seeing where we might need to work on and then put in place new habit to make it so. This could be a great conversation as a family about new habits you might like to try.
Justice towards our neighbour includes our world. Over the last couple of years I think we have all realised that to only care for the people on our planet is not enough, we must care for the whole earth and everything in it. In the past during Lent we have practiced random acts of kindness, seeking to bring God’s light into the world every day and yet as Christians I think that sometimes we don’t appreciate the power we have to bring about change particularly when we do it together.
The most recent Synod our church decided to prioritise Climate Change as an issue that God is concerned about in our world and is calling us to action in. Uniting Earth have some great resources and ideas about how you can go about this. Check out their website here. Take Climate Action | Uniting Earth
We know that living in Australia we are very blessed to have the infrastructure we have to support us during difficult times, others are not so lucky. Uniting World also have great resources for you to be able to use. Lent Event (unitingworld.org.au)
In all of these opportunities why not stop and think about how you can include children in the conversation and the actions you take. How can you explore issues of justice and help them find their voice in bringing God’s kingdom to come?
God cares about the things that are happening in our world and as Christians not only are we called to be the hands and feet of Jesus but also the voice.
Karen Mitchell-Lambert is ordained in the ministry of Deacon and is the team leader of PULSE.