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“Lent – A Spiritual Housecleaning” – Scott Wagoner

“Lent – A Spiritual Housecleaning” – Scott Wagoner

The season of Lent begins on March 9th with Ash Wednesday. Being the non-ceremonial type we Quakers tend not to focus as much on these ritual seasons. But when it comes to Lent, neglecting such a focus can sometimes be our loss. Lent is the season before Easter that commemorates the forty days Jesus spent in the wilderness before his ministry began. During this time we are invited to contemplate our own Christian journey and consider the disciplines that we need to become whole. How can we deepen our relationship to God as we represent and meet with Christ through our words and actions?
In her comments about the season of Lent, author Christine Sine writes: “Interestingly the concept of spring-cleaning emerged from the practice of Lent. This was the time of year when one cleaned house—first physically and then spiritually. What we ‘sweep out’ or give up should be more than food, however. This is the time to give up our busyness and sweep out the destructive habits that keep us focused on ourselves and our own selfish desires in order to focus on the truly important things of God. It is a good time to give up social events and engagements that keep us busy and distract us from the need to uncover our sin so that we can find forgiveness and healing.” In other words, Lent is a time that we are offered to contemplate our lives and do honest self-examination. This is all done in the light of God’s mercy and grace. This is not 40 days of beating yourself up because you can’t seem to get it right. It’s a time that is offered to us in which we given space to clear out all the stuff in our soul that is cluttering up our spiritual journey and preventing us from walking in the way of wholeness. It’s making Psalm 139:23-24 a daily prayer: “Examine me, O God, and know my mind; test me and discover my thoughts. Find out if there is any evil in me and guide me in the everlasting way.”
My prayer and encouragement is that we would all take full advantage of this opportunity for spiritual spring cleaning. Maybe you might take a personal retreat or engage in daily Bible study. Maybe intentionally setting aside time for prayer and journaling. Maybe it’s simply a matter of making it a priority in your life to attend meeting for worship during this time. It’s really the season of Lent that sets us up for Easter. As we approach the Easter season, we put to death all that gets in the way of our wholeness. As we put it to death, then there is resurrection in our souls. New life is born. New hope arises. A new way of living emerges from the tombs of our souls and we are reborn.
As Christine Sine again writes, “The reason we focus on our brokenness and need for repentance is so that we can be healed and enabled to become all that God intends us to be.” I’m looking forward to taking this journey with you so that we can all become all that God intends us to be.
Blessings, Scott