A Community of Faith in the Jupiter, Tequesta and Hobe Sound Area
The Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd
"We Have A Place For You."
The Rev. Douglas F. Scharf
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Read Fr. Doug's blog for sermons, notes and more.
Dear Friends in Christ,
What Will You Do with Forty Days?
In just a few weeks, we will begin the season of Lent. Since the earliest times of the Church, there is evidence of some kind of Lenten preparation for Easter. However, the forty-day liturgical season of Lent gained prominence in the fourth century.
This year I have been reflecting on the significance of forty days. For forty days Noah drifted on the water during the great flood waiting for new creation to emerge. For forty days Moses entered into the presence of God on Mount Sinai waiting for the law to be given. For forty days Elijah lived in a cave on Mount Horeb where he heard the still small voice of the Lord. For forty days Jesus was tempted in the wilderness as he prepared for his public life and ministry. In each of these cases, the course of a person’s life was transformed in just forty days.
Every year, we are given the gift of forty days. Every year, we are given a time for reflection and solitude, a time for self-examination and repentance, a time to be honest with ourselves, a time of healing. Since the earliest days of the church, Christians have recognized the need to set aside time for spiritual renewal as we prepare to celebrate the events of Christ’s passion, death, and resurrection.
As we begin this season of Lent, the question for us to consider is simply “What will we do with these forty days?” Will we just let them slip by relatively unnoticed? Or will we accept the gift of this season and enter into a time of deepening of our spiritual life? What will we do with these forty days? As we contemplate this question, let me offer THREE words that I believe can help us to understand the season of Lent:
The first word is INTENTION. Lent doesn’t just happen. There is a decision that must be made to intentionally use this time for spiritual renewal and a deepening of your relationship with God. Too often, we make the mistake of assuming that spiritual growth will somehow just happen.
The second word is DISCIPLINE. Our intentions must be expressed through our actions in the form of spiritual disciplines. The Book of Common Prayer calls us to observe “a holy Lent self-examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting, and self-denial; and by reading and meditating on God's holy Word.”
The third word is TRANSFORMATION. The practice of spiritual disciplines puts us in a position to experience spiritual transformation. By being intentional about the work of prayer and self-examination, we open ourselves to the transforming power of God’s love and healing grace.
Ready or not, Lent is coming! WHAT WILL YOU DO WITH THESE FORTY DAYS?