I see I’ve broken my weekly discipline of getting a blog entry in by my usual deadline. A very bad discipline to begin the Lenten season.
So…that’s my very brief topic for a very brief blog entry this week. Discipline.
As you may know, it is related to the word “disciple.” At the heart of that word is the question: to what are you devoted? To what have you given your heart? This is a good question for Lent.
Here are some ideas for developing a Lenten spiritual discipline – but I’d mostly be interested in your own – if there are any out there so inclined.
A few ideas:
1) I really really like this online devotional; try it out: www.d365.org
2) Or, why not create your own daily devotional time. Find a Bible. Start with just seven minutes a day. Read for a minute. Note what comes to you. Pray (and some find it useful to pray with a question). Offer your day up to God.
3) Some find meditation to be a good Lenten discipline. Perhaps you could try taking 10 minutes to do centering prayer. Centering prayer is taking time to follow your breath while praying a word or phrase, like “Love”, or “Peace”, or “Jesus, Son of God, have mercy”. If your mind wanders, gently call it back to the phrase you have been praying. Sit in a comfortable, straight-backed chair, with your back as erect as possible.
4) Why not try a “screen fast” – take one day without any screens: TV, iPhone, Blackberry, computer. An electron free day. See what it’s like. (and if you have a family – make it a family affair). If it goes well – make it a tradition.
5) I’ve also done the very traditional way of fasting – for example, giving up sweets, or television, or my nightly glass of wine. Sometimes such disciplines give you a very different sense of yourself and what’s around you: how you use food, how you use time.
6) Instead of fasting from, fasting can also mean adding something that clears a path to God. Do service once a week at a local soup kitchen; take an hour a week to clean up a park; clean a neighbor’s yard. Or, you can also combine approaches here – fast one meal a day and give the savings to your favorite charity.
7) (Got to end on a Biblical number) Here’s a radical idea: commit to worshipping each Sunday in Lent. Can’t hurt!
Lastly – I am not preaching this week – one of our four interns, Caroline Wood, will be proclaiming, on the traditional text for the First Sunday in Lent, the story of Jesus temptations in the wilderness. (Note the plural). Study up!
Again – love to hear any responses from you about what you do for Lenten disciplines.