February 23 - 29
Giving up Krispie Kremes for Lent? Or maybe that silly addiction to watching American Idol?
There’s nothing wrong with petty sacrifice for Lent. Especially in our pampered, clicker-and-couch culture, any discipline is better than nothing for strengthening willpower, breaking ingrained patterns, revealing weaknesses, raising self-control and increasing self-knowledge.
But in older times, Lent was a somber and penitential time of purification and spiritual journeying from Ash Wednesday to Holy Saturday in order to prepare Christians for the glory of Easter. New believers, especially, would embrace Lent as a time of preparation for their baptism, traditionally on Easter morn.
In Lent, as anytime, disciplines help disciples (notice how the two words are related?) to break free from the world, live with greater spiritual awareness and walk more closely with God.
This Lent, why not take on stewardship as a discipline? How we use the total of our time, talent and treasure lies at the very core of our walk of faith. What greater discipline can there be than learning to be good stewards of the one precious life that God has given us?
You could devise your own plan, but Alternatives for Simple Living has a handy daily calendar of Lenten exercises to help lead people to leaner, less stressful, more thoughtful and fulfilling lives. The 30-year-old Christian organization has inspired millions to find greater meaning by scaling back.
Most of the suggestions on the daily Lenten calendar involve stewardship issues in one way or another. For example, one entry suggests turning off your car stereo for three days and instead using drive time for quiet reflection. How might this stewardship of time improve your life?
You can find the calendar at www.simpleliving.org/free/lentcal.html. The Lord be with you!
-Rob Blezard, Webmaster and editor, email@example.com
"I constantly am struck by parallels between my life's work as an economist and my concept to Christian stewardship - in economics we deal with how we use our resources to fill our human wants, in stewardship we deal with how we choose to use God's gifts to us. I have noted that those who are closest to our basic resources - closest to the land, water and other natural resources - have the best perspective on what good stewardship means." By the Rev. Richard L. Peterman, from the Lutheran Laity Movement Archives.
Connecting with God,
Amid the horrors of war and a climate of fear, we all have an opportunity to CONNECT with many aspects of our lives -- our Lenten disciplines, the Earth, our relationships with other peoples, our work for peace, our desire to live more simply and consume less. During Lenten daily devotion time, consider using this guide's suggestions for thought or action. >From Alternatives for Simple Living.
A Form of Insanity?
It's always easier to motivate people to do their best by using a positive feedback than criticism. Everybody knows that, yet negative thinking still dominates in many organizations -- including our congregations. The strategy makes no stewardship sense. In Dana Reardon's weekly reflection.
Sins of Emission
No politician seriously believes that Americans are willing to deal with global warming. Is it too late to prove them wrong? "Sin, of course, is a word we've agreed to stop using in polite company-a cheap way of making an argument, its force eroded by its constant application to matters of personal style. So let's refer to the pattern of unfortunate option selection by the Bush administration when it comes to the environment." By Bill McKibbon, a leading Christian environmentalist, in Sojourners.
Use GPS - God's Positioning Spirit
"As stewards, God gives you guidance as a gift--the guidance of the Spirit. I am sure you recognize the Spirit as a gift of God in your life, but have you ever thought to recognize God's guidance as a gift? You can have the best map in the world, but may still not find your destination." StewardLife from the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod.