In Alicia Britt Chole’s book of Lenten devotions, 40 Days of Decrease, she writes:
“Decrease is a spiritual necessity. John the Baptist was the first among Jesus’ followers to grasp its countercultural power. “Less is more” is a popular simplicity mantra in our day. But John’s understanding of “less is more” was spiritually profound. In many ways, John lived a Lenten lifestyle 365 days a year. His diet was narrow, his possessions were minimal, and his focus was eternal. But decrease for John was less about assets and more about attention. His longing was to draw his generation’s attention and allegiance to the Messiah. From John’s perspective, the true value of seeing him was that people would then be positioned to see through him and gaze at Jesus. By willingly decreasing, John increased others’ view of the Savior. John decreased so others could see the Lamb. John decreased so others could follow the One who preceded and surpassed him. John decreased so that the Messiah would be revealed in John’s lifetime. May our decrease likewise increase our generation’s view of Jesus.“
Lent is the Christian season of decrease. For many, it is a forty day-long fast from something or some habit that we sense that we would be better off without. After the forty days are ended we may permit ourselves to take up again that thing or habit from which we abstained and return to our old patterns. But what if our focus during Lent shifted from what we can do with less of for a short time, to creating space for more of something for a lifetime?
Perhaps our goal this Lent can be the pursuit of decrease in whatever obscures the Christ-life in us so that Jesus can become more visible through us.
Let us commit to a Lent of decrease by addition; adding activities and practices that allow us to give more attention to Jesus. Choose a book of Lenten devotions and read from it daily. Attend the special worship experiences of Lent (see the list below). Come to the Centering Prayer meetings every second and fourth Tuesday at 7 pm to grow closer to God in meditative prayer. Attend the Worship Connection meeting on Wednesdays at 10 am to better understand God’s Word and its power to transform your life.
This is the schedule for worship services during Lent 2020:
- Ash Wednesday, February 26 at 7:00 PM.
- Palm/Passion Sunday, April 5
- Maundy Thursday, April 9 at 7:00 PM
- Good Friday, noon to 6 pm meditatively follow the Walk to the Cross in the sanctuary and/or use the labyrinth that will be set up in Covenant Hall.
Witness the story of Jesus as you never have before at The Gospel of Mark Alive on April 2, at 6:30 pm (see the flyer in this issue of the Epistle).
Easter Sunday, celebrate Christ’s resurrection on April 12 Sunrise Service at 6:30 AM at the gazebo on Academy Hill and/or in the Sanctuary Service at 9:30 AM.