Monday, March 3, 2014

5 Keys to a Disciplined Lent

Lent marks the season of 40 days before Easter.  Christians have the opportunity to "be still" and consider well the critical events of Christ's death offered in exchange of our guilt and shame.  Typically in the Church's history, Christians sacrifice something, too.  Roman Catholics forego meat on Fridays which makes for marvelous fish fries all around.  More protein-passionate Protestants might give up soda/pop/cola, depending on what region of the country you inhabit.  Chocolate, sweets, alcohol and fast food are there as well.

On the other side stand the protesting Protestants who "take on" some discipline that is not normally a habit for them.  An intentional schedule of daily prayer, bible reading or act of service is typical.

All that said, here are my 4 keys to a well-disciplined Lent, regardless of what you stop or start.

1.  Keep the good news at the center.  Approximating the sacrifice of Jesus through your sacrifice of what-not is admirable.  But, if the focus is on the discipline and not the reason for it, the discipline has lost all value.

2.  Make it communal,  not individual.  I think this is why fish fries among our Roman Catholic friends are so wildly popular.  It's a big party (and usually a good fundraiser!).  And who doesn't like that?!  Share your discipline in your Christian home or your circle of friends.

3.  Change it up from year to year.  Stop something this year.  Start something next.  Physical today.  Spiritually-oriented later.

4.  Of any discipline you can contrive, regularity in worship is always the most important.  Gathering around the story and the meal and the fellowship of the Church is the foundation stone of faith.  Every other self-generated discipline is sinking sand.  Before any other discipline is brought online in your life, make every weekend worship foremost.

Now...I have a couple days left to figure out what I am going to do...

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