Our theme for Lent this year is “Return to God with all your heart.” God’s “wholehearted” love is available to us through grace. But there are parts of our hearts that we withhold from God. Lent is the season to be mindful of what you might be giving your heart to, instead of giving it all to God. Throughout Lent there will be ash grey paper hearts available for you to take and use to identify the pieces of your heart that you aren’t giving to God, and then to commit to making some change in your life that reflects your intent to love God with all your heart. Often, that change translates into giving some thing or some habit up for Lent.
When it comes to giving something up, there are the old standbys: sweets, coffee, channel surfing or web browsing.
Maybe what we need most is to more of something that is good for us. More exercise, healthier dieting, or more reading.
The point is, doing more or less of anything for Lent shouldn’t be an end in itself, but a means to deepening your relationship with God.
The following questions can be a good guide to identifying whatever it is that gets in the way of your loving God with your whole heart and what you can do about it:
- What habits do I engage in that are destructive to my spiritual health?
- To what material things am I too attached?
- What areas in my life are unbalanced?
- To what do I devote too much or not enough time?
Questions like these help us to decide what to give up or what to add to our lives during Lent. The answer to a more meaningful Lent may be found right here in church.
For instance, if your entertainment involves too much television, you could browse the Jane Mason Library for some spiritually enriching reading.
If you never find time for prayer you might try joining the Centering Prayer group during Lent.
To feel more connected to God in in church on Sundays you could go to Worship Connections on Wednesdays.
If service to others is missing from your life, why not consider volunteering to teach church school, or taking part in one of the many mission projects available?
Use your “heart-card” to record whatever ideas you have for returning to God with all your heart and by the time Lent is over you may discover that you have made progress toward loving God more wholeheartedly.