Join Josh and Kit this week as they discuss all of the ways that Lent has become meaningful for them and how it can be for us!
…looking for opportunities to find God…
…Lord would you help me to have eyes to see what you see?…
…it’s going to deepen our connectedness, our intimacy…
2020 Lenten Gospel Reflections
Click for Full Podcast Transcription
Happy Lent. Everybody. It’s that favorite time of the year, we all gather and give up stuff and give away stuff and spend time print. So we’re talking about Lent, cuz we’re in Lent, we last week was Ash Wednesday. And now we’re into the season of Lent. And I don’t know what your Christian background is, like my Christian background, we was like people would talk about lent on the side, but it was never a kind of a formal part of what people did. So I’ve learned more about lenses and adult. And there are three, three common practices for people during Lent. And those include fasting almsgiving, and prayer. And we’re not going to talk in this podcast, like, you know, let’s talk about almsgiving fasting, but we will talk about those, but we’re gonna talk just in general about lent and why we think it’s meaningful, and maybe some things that God’s stirring in us around this idea. I don’t mean to sound so chipper I’m kind of making fun cuz I don’t think most people think of like a word. But I, I have found that land is a meaningful time. So
well, it can be although what you’re bringing back to my memory is when I was young, I grew up in a Catholic family. And every time that came around, I would give up candy. And every time I would cheat. I’m laughing about it. Because it, it meant absolutely nothing to me. You know, now it does. But back as a kid, it was like it was something I had to do. And then I and I and I just was laughing at the fact that every single time I cheated, I go over to a neighbor’s house and you know, steal their lemon drops.
Yeah. And how would you feel when you cheated?
I don’t think I don’t think it bothered me. It’s like that. Because because it didn’t mean anything. It didn’t mean anything. It really was just a just a thing. So, you know, that’s what we’re going to talk about today is how to not just have it be, you know, meaningless. How is it meaningful?
And I think the other the other mistake, So on one hand, it’s meaningless. And so either as adults, you don’t do it, or maybe when you if you kind of do it, but you just go through the motions, you cheat. I think the other extreme this is maybe even more dangerous as you do it. Because you think that somehow this is, you know, God wants to serve you and you’re trying to earn something from God. Yeah, absolutely. You know, or it’s a it’s kind of a form of punishment from God, because he’s, he’s angry, and that is not what lint is about. lint can be I mean, some of these things can be an outward expression of, of repentance, of trying to position our hearts as to be contrite before the Lord,
but sacrifice in a meaningful good way, not because you need punishment, but because you’re willing heart wants to give something back to God and acknowledge Him and all he’s done for us.
Yeah, to open ourselves to Him to make some more room for him. So kit, I’m talking too much. What what are you doing this, like? What’s going on in your mind and heart? And have you made any decisions about how you want to do led to this year?
Well, I’ve been, you know, really thinking about it, and talking to people about it, reading things about it, and feeling like you know, I want to do something a little different, something meaningful, you asking God about it. And you know, the thing that caught my attention was something that is in the past has been kind of a thing like random acts of kindness, but I was reading about turning back to God in some significant way, what would that look like, looking for opportunities to be reminded of God and I thought about just trying to pay attention, whether it’s in my home, or at my work, or with the neighborhood or my work in any situation, I’m in like, just to look for ways to be kind in ways that maybe I would overlook and so asking God, Lord, would you help me have eyes to see what you see, and be willing to do it? And of course, this is a little tricky, because I’m not gonna want to announce it to everybody, although I just announced it to everybody. But so I, we I struggled with that, because I don’t want to toot my own horn, I just want to be honest about the fact that that’s what captured my heart. And, and I, I’m excited about it. I’m excited about doing it. I’m excited about how God will, I’ll feel like I’ll turn my heart a little bit more towards him in the season. And I’m longing for that. And I wasn’t sure how to do that some fresh way. So that’s what I’ve been thinking about. So
let me ask you so so this would fall into the category perhaps of almsgiving, which is just learned about that. Yesterday, we don’t use we don’t even think we have arms. We were arms a thing where they actual Is it a currency or something like what is Oh,
I honestly don’t know. We should find out we should put it in the show notes when we research for those
interested. I don’t know if anybody knows you. Just you Last Yeah, yeah, I got other things to do. But in general almsgiving almsgiving means like giving, I mean, practically, it’s like it’s giving money. It’s giving resources to somebody in need. Right? So, so you’re so so you said you were just reading about it, and you’re learning about it. So what what, when you talk about that as a way to open yourself or to draw near to Jesus, what, what is What do you mean?
Well, it’s taking the focus off of me, which needs to happen, because, you know, I think that can be preoccupations, what do I need? And what do I want? And, and really, to just have eyes to see what God’s seeing all the time and I miss? And just pay more attention to what’s going on? How do I wake up to what’s going on, and how I might be kind or generous or something with somebody. It’s like in centering prayer. One thing was Thomas Keating said, you know, we beat ourselves up, because we’re like, our mind is just spinning, spinning, spinning. And he said, but don’t worry about it, your mind is going to go but rather think about every time that you come back to your sacred word as an opportunity to come back to God. So this would be an opportunity for me to come back to God if I’m trying to be thoughtful and see the world more like he does to, to see these things and to respond to these things. And so
when you talk about seeing or like part of part of your, your exercise, you’re going to be walking through this land, or you’re gonna be trying to do is, is practicing having eyes to see people who might be in need. Yeah. And then not just seeing and kind of closing yourself off, but opening yourself to get our God who is generous, and who gives abundantly, even when we don’t deserve it. And to step into that in some way to give to a practical need. Yeah, well, cool kit. And I won’t tell anybody.
What about you? What do you What are you thinking about?
Well, so I, this is, there was a long period of my life where I did not like devotionals at all, I just found like, you know, I didn’t want to be constrained to devotion. I felt like there, you know, I don’t need you to spoon feed me, I’m just going to read Scripture. I think in the business of my life, I found recently like, it can be really helpful for a season like this to have a devotional. Yeah. So I just picked up a devotional, it’s a kind of immediate one by Bishop Robert Barron. He’s a Catholic bishop whose teachings and and just ability to kind of communicate philosophy, philosophical things, and engage culture really are profound to me, but and that’s what I, that’s where I spend my time this this year. And actually, it was, I think, he was kind of who remind me Oh, yeah, almsgiving as a part of this, too, like, I always just think about fasting, I think that was kind of, if I had one category, what you did during Lent, it was you give something up, right? You give something away, or you pray. But But part of what I’ve been thinking about a kind of AI is about the the Sorry, I’m stumbling here a little bit. But what those three things do, like why would they be a part of this journey for us, and what I think they have in common is the each in their own way, or an expression fasting, almsgiving prayer, they’re each an expression of reaching through what is seen, to what is unseen. putting our trust, like, pushing our trust through what we can rely on what we know, we can see we can touch, and, and placing it into that category, that arena, that sphere, where we can’t see and we can’t touch in quite the same way. So like, just, you know, so we we fast, meaning like I can see and touch and feel food when I’m hungry. That’s one one thing to do with my hunger. But when I fast I reached through my physical hunger and I start to express Lord, I’m hungry for you. I’m hungry for your spirit for your righteousness, for the same kind of bread that Jesus had, when he was hungry that he could tell his disciples like, actually, I don’t need the bread you just brought me because I have food to eat, you know nothing about like, what, what almsgiving I think, you know, I, I want to hold on to my stuff. And I don’t want I don’t I don’t want to give it away. And when I give I’m, I’m trusting that God who sees in secret is going to reward what I’ve done in secret. And that’s, that’s a reaching beyond kind of, you know, visible math, you know, of like, you know, I earned what I, what I have, I have, you know, I bought what I have is what I bought, like, you know it all it all makes sense kind of visibly. And then prayer, obviously, I mean, praying is in Jesus’s words to the to his followers like you know, when you pray don’t sit in announced before everybody, like go into a secret place and your father who hears in secret will respond to you. So they’re all so it’s kind of like, you know, we’re lust screams like, you know, reach for what you got and lust is all about just the physical and it separates the spiritual from it like you don’t see a person you just see a body. You don’t see a resource you just see money. You just see me it’s all Me Me, me me, lent Lentz for me this year. I want to practice like reaching through that the veil and kind of saying, Lord, I’m so the picture I have. I’ll shut up after this. So the picture I have is if a guy were to roll out on No, on a deep lake in his rowboat, and he’s got this, this bag of treasure with him. And the people on the shore watch him as he like, you know, hoist his bag up over the side of the thing and just, you know, opens it up and dumps out all these gold coins and these goblets and all these jewels and just dumps him in the middle of the lake. people decide to be like, What is he doing. And meanwhile, the guy in the boat is thinking, like, I know that there’s an invisible investor, who is receiving what I’m doing. And he’s investing it. And it’s going to produce much more than if I put it into any bank that these people on the shore see. So maybe the difference is, there’s nobody on the shore, this person’s going out in the dead of night, so that nobody sees and he’s pouring it out. So he’s not even getting the pat on the back for the good religious move. He’s, he is trusting that, that there’s hands that see beyond so
I loved when you were describing all of that the word awaken, you know, came to me like it’s, it’s an awakening of, of, of the fullness of God all around us and in us. And I also loved you and you’re describing the secret, doing something secret with God, you know? And that building intimacy, like that builds intimacy. This is just for me, and God, oh, yeah. No, like, I’m gonna, they’re gonna do this together, and nobody else is necessarily gonna know. But this is gonna be so great, because God and I are gonna do it together is gonna be our thing. It’s gonna, you know, deepen our connectedness and our intimacy. So I love that picture. That’s a secret
that he and I are gonna go do. Yeah, I mean, like, you know, the intimate, intimate moments when you kind of stare across the room and somebody who knows you well. And you both just got the inside joke, but nobody else did. Yeah, between you two. And so yeah, that’s, that’s beautiful. Yeah. Gosh. And I think that’s, I mean, that’s my hope for Lent, each year, my hope for my Christian life in general. But my hope for Atlanta, I think, is that there will be a deepening of, of my connection and my trust, that the God who is unseen, the God who is in a very, very real way, who is a secret himself, you know, I mean, he has revealed himself, but there’s so much about him that is quiet and invisible and secret, not because he’s, he’s a miser, but I don’t even know all the reasons why but, but my hope is that through Lent, doing some of these things, not not to earn something from him, but just will help to cultivate and remind my own spirit, my own soul, my body, to reaffirm and reassert to my flesh, and to the world around me like that, that there is a God and I do trust him more than this other stuff that I can see. And I, you know, the way that I usually go in the world,
and, you know, to really embrace the idea that, you know, Lent is about remembering, you know, what, what Jesus did. And that’s a remarkable thing. And so it’s very sobering, what he did. It’s also, you know, when you think about Easter and resurrection, it’s also very winsome, and very, you know, just delightful to think about at the end of this, we don’t want to skip over, you know, the horror and the pain, but we also know that there is light. And so if this Lenten practice can awaken us, it can be both, you know, sobering and, and, you know, paying attention to things that we don’t normally do, and it can be winsome, it can be about building intimacy with with Jesus for and thanking him for all that he has done and is doing.
Yeah, I’m glad you brought that up. Because I think I mean, this is crazy, but I think it kind of escaped my mind that Lent is is the road it is a spiritual road that our spiritual forefathers and mothers for years and years and years have practiced leading to Good Friday, crucifixion, and Easter Sunday, the resurrection. And so it is a participating in the the pouring out as a statement of love for others for God. And with a trust that there there is resurrection that that that the what you’ve been sowing actually is going to produce a fruit unto eternal life.
Yeah, preparing, it’s like preparing, you know, your hearts for fully taking in what happened? Yeah. And fully taking in the outcome at the end?
Yeah. Yeah. You know, I mean, tell me about that. Because I, I, again, it’s a guy who did not grow up with lent as a part of kind of a regular part of our spiritual life in our church. There, there wasn’t much preparation. So like, why prepare? Do we need to prepare like it’s not it’s done for a little bit about another 38 days or whatever, like how we do we really need to prepare
well, Stations of the Cross are beautiful. That’s another practice that I would love to do again, I’ve done in past years and when you actually walk through the Stations of the Cross it It allows you to experience what really happened. And it prepares your heart for the sacrifice, though, not just what Jesus did, but how he did it. And so you are moved, I am moved. And I think people are when they are really embracing what happened. You’re moved at the incredible sacrifice. And that prepares your heart to, to mourn to, to, you know, appreciate in deep ways what God did, and then also prepares your heart to celebrate that, then he and then he rose again, you know that there was this miracle that happened at the end. So I think it’s preparing both for the sacrifice, but then it preparing for the meaning of resurrection and what that means to our faith. Yeah, now,
that’s good. Yeah, we prepare our home, and we’re having company or when we’re having a fancy dinner, prepare ourselves when we’re training for a marathon or when we’re getting ready to go to a wedding or a concert. And this is a lent as a spiritual preparing for really The, the, or maybe one of the primary cataclysmic moments in the universe, the death of God’s son and the resurrection of
his birth, which was obviously the same, but this is this is this is the, at the foundation of our faith. Yeah,
this this is what happened. Yeah. So our, our hope is that our and we’re in good, we’re in good company to hope this but that our our spiritual fathers who have gone before us and for whom this has been a part of yet spiritual mothers and fathers who have gone before us have, this was not just, you know, a fancy idea for a year that this is a part of a regular part of the church calendar, because our hearts, our bodies, or our schedules, or our minds need to be prepared. So Well, hey, listen, if you’re listening, I hope that’s been encouraging to you in some way, I want to just make an offer to you the devotional I talked about beginning by Robert, our Bishop, Robert Barron, if you want a copy of that, we have a limited number of copies here, and we’d be happy to send you one. So just to help your Lenten experience be more rich and deep. We’d be happy to send you one. But again, we have limited copies. So let us know you’re listening. And we’d also just love for you to send in some questions or some topics you want us to talk about. So not a requirement to get the devotional but let us know if you want.
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Original music by Shannon Smith. Audio engineering by Gabriel @ DelMar Sound Recording.
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