Twilight Twitches

fetscherDear Family,
So, we begin! Lent. The origin of the word has a couple of related sources, but fundamentally the word comes from medieval English before 1000, with Dutch (lente) and German (lenz) relatives. The old English is lencten and it literally means, “lengthen.” Lengthen what? The days of Spring. There is more daylight each day.

I know you were laying awake in bed last night wondering about all of that.

What’s the real point?

We begin forty days of prayer and fasting and almsgiving (the PFA Challenge), recalling the forty days that Jesus spent preparing for his public ministry. Talk about intensive preparation. You can’t really call it planning. Jesus was open to whatever lay before him and his time was doubtless spent asking his Father, “What is your will?”

I don’t spend four minutes a day asking the Lord what he wants, much less forty days. I guess that tells us more than a little about how important the question was for Jesus, and how important it is for us as well. “Father, show me your will.”

Hopefully, during Lent we will sharpen our wits and our wills. That’s what the PFA Challenge is all about.

I got a little side-tracked as I was thinking about Lent. Last week I reminded you that folks over 14 abstained from meat on the Fridays of Lent. I also mentioned that the fasting days of Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are for those between 14 and 59. I wonder how old that guideline is. Imagine 59 being seen as an older age when you don’t want to overburden the “elderly.” From my vantage point, 59 is a spring chicken.

Maybe we see that this isn’t about numbers. It’s about the spirit with which we will enter Lent. Last Sunday you received the Lenten daily reflection, Sacred Reading. I hope it helps you look in your heart and discover past treasures, but even more importantly, new discoveries.

What are the new discoveries about my own personal relationship with God that I can bring to my daily life?

I recently heard someone whose opinions I respect, commenting that perhaps our country has not been as divided as it is now since the Civil War. What do I bring to that? What can the gospel help me do about that?

For one thing, I’m going to specifically start picking out things to pray for and about that I wouldn’t normally do. Pick one individual out of the news. Name them in my prayer. If it is someone who abuses society in some way, pray that much harder for them. Pray for the people whose lives they affected. I normally pray for the latter; now I must pray for both.

I have no doubt that doing this is going to affect, however subtly, the way I treat the pin-head who cut me off in traffic. I know it seems like a leap. Trust me, it isn’t.

I hope you’ll work out your own response. I know what I’ve written here is scattered, but I’ve no doubt you can find a kernel for yourself that makes sense.

PS. Someone asked about the quote I used last week. A couple of researchers including Annie and Dermot McQuarrie came up with the likely possibility that the quote is from James Truslow Adams:
... “there is so much bad in the best of us and so much good in the worst of us that it ill becomes any of us to find fault with the rest of us."

Amen, Amen.
In Jesus,
sign frjim

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