With a moving Ash Wednesday experience this past week our Lenten Journey 2016 is underway. I entered into Lent with a startling juxtaposition that offered a powerful picture of what the season of Lent is all about. The morning of Ash Wednesday I successfully defended my doctoral dissertation in Leadership and Spiritual Formation, thereby being conferred with the title of Dr. Haskins. That evening I had the honor of imposing ashes on dozens of the faith-filled; humbly stating with each impression on their foreheads, "Remember, from dust you came and to dust you shall return." These two significant events colliding on the same day was a grounding experience that will offer foundational reflections well into the future. Over the past few days here are a few of my reflections and realizations.
• Remember, There Is A Bigger Reality
Paraphrasing a story Jesus told in Luke 12, "You can fill your barn with all the degrees you want, but if you don't fill your barn with me what good is it?" Lent is great for this as it focuses us on the Cross and Christ's resurrection - THE Reality to live in light of.
• Community Is Essential To The Journey
My doctoral program was cohort based meaning I had the joy and privilege of having the same group of people who encouraged, engaged, challenged, corrected, laughed with, cried with, and uplifted me, while I was doing the same for them. As I was touching each persons forehead on Ash Wednesday I couldn't help but be reminded how connected and needful of each other we really are. Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other. Rom. 12:4-5
• You can find a great weekly discussion and reflection guide for 40 Days of Decrease here to use for your own journey or ideally, with a small group.
• You can see here our Pre-Lenten Space Savers that we have shared leading up to Lent for you to use during your Lenten journey. Space Savers are simple experiences designed to help you create space in the normal flow of your life.
• Each week I will be hosting a Community Lenten Group at Christ Church of Oakbrook from 7-8:30PM. It’s even better when you bring a friend or your whole small group.
• Using the first picture above- one we took took on the Lenten Community Group’s informational night – what do we learn by what isn’t listed?
• What were your most and least favorite fasts so far that Alicia has lead us into? Why?
• Prayerfully consider who you can invite to join you on this Lenten Journey by inviting them to the Wednesday night group.
• Share your thoughts so far by responding to this post here or on Create Space’s FaceBook Page.
• Imagine Jesus sitting with you and then share your experience with Lent so far. Specifically focus on ONE of the fasts you’ve been challenged with and tell Jesus what you need help with and why.
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