By Rev. John Campbell,
United Presbyterian, Oakdale
“In the midst of…” Have you noticed that when you get to the middle of something it can be the hardest part.
Take for example starting a new diet, having gone a couple of weeks we tire or sort of slip back to old ways.
When you start there is an energy, an excitement with a new beginning, a new project or a new way of doing something. But gradually that newness wanes and things become harder. Well the same can be true of our spiritual practice of Lent.
Now, Lent is not new.
Christians have been observing this period before Easter for almost two thousand years.
Yet in our individual lives it can be new every year. For the last three weeks we have read the columns of Rev. Miller writing about this season of Lent.
As has been stated there is no command in the Bible for the season. It has developed over the years by the practices of believers. The roots being in the preparation of new believers to be baptized. And slowly over the years it has become the time of confession and repentance of the sins that we slip into.
Renewal is a good thing.
The writer of Hebrews tells the readers to “let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us” (KJV). This is something that we all need to do as regularly as maintaining a car or machinery or, to use another image, keeping up a house.
Lent can be a time to remind ourselves that our relationship with the Lord needs to be renewed, especially as we look toward to cost of our salvation in the life and death of Christ our Savior.
It has been suggested that either instead of giving something up for Lent, or in addition to abstaining, we might replace that bad habit or practice by spending time praying, reading scripture and / or serving your neighbor.
We could practice what we read in Hebrews 12: “And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.”
The idea of doing something, not out of obligation rather out of love, will be a positive building of our lives. C.S. Lewis noted in one of his letters: “to act on the light one has is almost the only way to more light.”
I like what A.W. Tozer wrote: “The important thing is that the Holy Spirit desires to take us and control us and use us as instruments and organs through whom He can express Himself in the body of Christ.”
So in this third week of Lent, we can practice a positive effort that will both build us in Christ as well as strengthen the body of Christ Jesus and ourselves together. By spending time in reading the scriptures, in praying and in being a servant of God we will find a renewal of our spirits.