Lenten Preparation

Lenten Preparation

Ash Wednesday is March 2nd this year and begins a rather brief period of spiritual preparation for the celebration of Easter. In the early church it was seen as a time of fasting to prepare initiates into the church for baptism. We will have an Ash Wednesday service at 7:30 with in-person and online participation. Beginning the following Wednesday, March 9, our weekly Wisdom Group will begin a study of The Enneagram Guide to Waking Up by Beatrice Chestnut. All are welcome to join in this study. Simply get a copy of the book and join on our Zoom meetings from 7:00 to 8:30.

I believe that the Enneagram focus, which we will begin but not end in Lent, is an appropriate Lenten discipline. The Enneagram is a tool of self-observation which enables us to see how we act from instinctual and habituated patterns which help us to function in the world, but also which get in the way of our movement toward rebirth into Christ. Baptism celebrates the Christian journey of dying to the old person we mistakenly believe ourselves to be and becoming a new person in Christ. There is so much Scriptural support for this vision of the Christian path—Jesus’ focus on following his same path of death and resurrection, Paul’s description of baptism in Romans 6 as being a participation in the death and resurrection of Christ, and Paul’s proclamation in 2 Corinthians 5: 17 that “if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!”

The biblical and theological evidence is clear—Christians are called to die to the surface and largely unconscious self of so-called human nature and to become a new, transformed self which is integrated into the Risen Christ. We are to become new and different people. Therefore, Lenten disciplines were established to help in this process of transformation.

Transformation is much more than the work of the ego or of a few sacrifices here and there. It requires an ability to see ourselves deeply and the courage to let go of self-attachment and habitual ways of being into a new self in Christ. It simply won’t happen without help. Some of us will begin work on such seeing and letting go, beginning in Lent. Why not join us on the road with Christ to new life? See you in church!

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