Lent feels different to me this year. Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the Lenten season. Some years I do some sort of fast, some years I don't. And fasting can be very helpful for spiritual growth and awareness. You can fast from food on certain days, or certain types of food for all 46 days of Lent. Or you can fast from screens, or shopping, or social media, or breaking the speed limit.
The purpose of fasting is to enter into an altered state of consciousness. It's a way of getting on God's wavelength, of seeing things from his point of view. It's a way of seeing yourself more deeply and seeing the world more compassionately. Through self-denial, you can put yourself on the altar, and see things through the loving, sacrificial heart of God.
This year during Lent I plan to use the Examen Prayer of St. Ignatius Loyola every day. It's simple way of reflecting on life and relationships. I want to enter more deeply into that altered state of mind and offer myself as a living sacrifice.
As Lent begins, I also marvel at the work of God now at Asbury University. A revival has broken out there. It began as a student confessed his sins to his peers in a small group. Somehow the Holy Spirit led other students to seek the face of God in worship and praise. A profound sense of the Presence of God permeates the campus. People describe it as an overwhelming sense of peace.
More than ever we need Christian believers to surrender humbly to the Lord. It's not them who need to change. I need to change. I need to see how God wants to bring me along. He needs to show me how destructively I miss the mark, in my attitudes, my habits, my assumptions, my actions.
It takes time for God to get through to me. He's been working on me for over 60 years, and I feel like I've been such a hard head. I want to offer the Lord an "altared" state of mind, so that maybe he can help me walk with Jesus and become more like Jesus. He identified with me when he died on the cross. I want to identify with him as we approach Easter.
I want to reflect on the Lord, his love for me, his sacrifice for me. He needs to change me. I have to listen to him and be with him. When Christians receive and respond to the soul-shaking love of Jesus, his kingdom comes. May his will be done.