You found time to read through this email. If you have done that, you are likely reading the Bible Challenge as well with a piece of Scripture each day. During Lent, we often try to give up something that is unhealthy for us, that will benefit our overall well-being. Giving up chocolate may help our sugar addiction. Adding exercise may help get us back into shape. Maybe we give up other components of food or add other pieces to our lives that help us. Maybe you pray at a particular time or in a particular way. This year, you have already dedicated yourself to reading the Bible. Maybe, if you have fallen short or are not consistent, it is time to pick up this challenge, even if it is only for Lent.
On Ash Wednesday, we read from the Book of Common Prayer the following Invitation:
Dear People of God: The first Christians observed with great
devotion the days of our Lord's passion and resurrection, and
it became the custom of the Church to prepare for them by a
season of penitence and fasting. This season of Lent provided
a time in which converts to the faith were prepared for Holy
Baptism. It was also a time when those who, because of
notorious sins, had been separated from the body of the faithful
were reconciled by penitence and forgiveness, and restored to
the fellowship of the Church. Thereby, the whole congregation
was put in mind of the message of pardon and absolution set
forth in the Gospel of our Savior, and of the need which all
Christians continually have to renew their repentance and faith.
I invite you, therefore, in the name of the Church, to the
observance of a holy Lent, by self-examination and repentance;
by prayer, fasting, and self-denial; and by reading and
meditating on God's holy Word. And, to make a right beginning
of repentance, and as a mark of our mortal nature, let us now
kneel before the Lord, our maker and redeemer. - pg. 264-265
As you see in bold, the reading and meditating on Scripture is a key component to the invitation. If you are to focus on one single component of this year's Lenten discipline, you are invited in this process to read a little bit each day. We also ask you to have just one other person join this Lenten discipline with you and all of us. I know, we are in the middle of a book, but that is ok. Lent seems to come in the middle of our busy lives and we invite all into the middle of this journey.
The question then is, how does the reading of Scripture daily impact your other Lenten disciplines or bring you closer to God? Does it help you in self-examination? If you have other practices such as giving up chocolate (an oldie but a goodie), does it inform that practice? At the least, whenever we encounter Scripture, we are accepting the invitation for God's movement in our lives. Let God move in your life this Lent.
Lent is Here
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The Rev. William L. Packard
I am excited to read the Bible with you, not only for the knowledge and ability to say, "I've read the whole thing," but for the wonderful things that occur when Scripture is read intentionally each day.
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