Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The People's Warden Offers His Thoughts, Reflections and Questions on Lent

This editorial was written by Steven B. the People's Warden at St. Philip's. Steven is a humble man who practices his faith with an integrity and honesty that is truly inspirational. Here are his candid reflections on Lent as it pertains to his journey of faith.

During a discussion with Richard [the social media coordinator at SPC], I offered in a moment of light-hearted fun to write a short reflection on Lent, through the eyes of a Church Warden. When it eventually struck me that he had taken me at my word, I began to ponder: what exactly is Lent? And why should I write about it? I have no theological education beyond what little I absorb from sermons and Bible studies. I see my “call” at St-Philip’s as ensuring that burned out light bulbs get replaced – very necessary, but not in any way spiritual. Still, even if it was a moment of light jest and perhaps weakness, I did promise. Therefore, I ponder, and the question is deep: What is Lent to me? What should it be?

I have discussed this with friends gathered about Church coffee urns everywhere. One friend forgoes chocolate during Lent; another, coffee; yet another, alcohol. These are three friends, among many, who impress me and inspire me to confront my own comparatively anemic faith journey. I confront, and I despair! Who am I to make such a wonderful gesture to our Lord? I say nasty things to people who love me. I let down people who trust me to protect them. I don’t even get the light bulbs changed very well. How in the world can I make a holy gesture before God for Lent, and not feel like a complete fake? I imagine the whispers: “Who is he trying to kid?”

So I come to God, with nothing but these fears and failures on my lips. “Lord, what would you have from me?” God hasn’t answered – at least not in any concrete way that I can identify. Maybe he expects me to try something – to make a suggestion. Great… With no credibility whatsoever then, I begin to ponder Lent, and whether and how I might observe it this year. What if instead of giving up something I enjoy, I were to get up early each day and read my Bible? What if I were to write each day a list of things I am sorry for, and ask God, and perhaps some of you, for forgiveness?

These feel like commitments that would be good for my own faith journey. Perhaps I will try some of them. What I will do for sure though, and more each year, is to contemplate Lent, a Church season fraught with significance, and how it applies to me. Where do I stand with my Lord? What would I like to change? What would God like me to change? All questions, no answers, but questions I will wrestle with. Perhaps God will touch me, as he did Jacob, and even break me, but what if I then emerge a bit more in tune with my own faith and religion? It’s terrifying, but I want it. May I be touched by God this Lent.

Steven B.

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