In the book Common Prayer - A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals, the authors reflect on the season of Lent this way:
"It is a time of repentance, of considering Christ's sufferings and rethinking how we are called to take up our own crosses. Some of us give up things like chocolate or television during this season as a sort of fasting, and others try to integrate something new into their lives, like visiting folks in prison, sewing clothes, exercising, or praying. It is a good season to rethink how we live and to let some things go, or maybe even to develop some new holy habits."It is the last statement I feel particularly drawn to.
You see, this will be my first Lent and Easter season when I will be serving as a hospice chaplain through my participation in a unit of Clinical Pastoral Education. What better season than Lent to journey with patients and their families through the last days of life? To reflect on the mortality of our earthly lives while resting in the resurrection hope we have in Jesus?
This will also be my first Lent and Easter season when I will be under consideration for a pastoral appointment in the Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church. What better season than Lent to pray and to fast (more so than usual) in order to become more closely connected to God and to seek His will? To rethink how I am called to take up my own cross?
On the other hand, this will be my last Lent and Easter season in my current ministry setting and my last as a seminary student. Spring of Life UMC and Asbury Theological Seminary have each been incredibly important places on my faith journey. The people and memories from each will be forever etched into my mind, forever a part of my story. It goes without saying then that learning how to say goodbye, and say goodbye well, is a priority for me. What better season than Lent to rethink how I live and let some things go?
It is for all of these reasons that I will be fasting from social media throughout Lent. Beginning with Ash Wednesday and continuing through Easter Sunday, I will be on a Sabbatical of sorts from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and my blog. In the time every day when I normally would be reading Facebook posts or tweets, I will "fix my attention on God" and seek to be "changed from the inside out." (See The MESSAGE, Romans 12:1-2)
My learning goals for CPE include learning the ministry of presence and the art of spiritually supportive listening. What better season than Lent to remove the distractions that come with social media in order to do just that? To be fully present, with ears to hear the still, small voice of God? That is my prayer anyway.
I also pray that your journey through Lent brings you closer to our risen Lord. May the grace and peace of Jesus Christ be with you, my friends.