Is not this the fast that I choose:
to loose the bonds of injustice,
to undo the thongs of the yoke,
to let the oppressed go free,
and to break every yoke?
Is it not to share your bread with the hungry,
and bring the homeless poor into your house;
when you see the naked, to cover them,
and not to hide yourself from your own kin?
Then your light shall break forth like the dawn,
and your healing shall spring up quickly;
your vindicator shall go before you,
the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.
Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer;
you shall cry for help, and he will say, Here I am.
Isaiah 58:6-9, NRSV
If giving something up, or adding something to, our daily living is good for Lent; shouldn’t we be doing it all the time? I have wrestled with these questions. I’ve had the cynical attitude; but I have discovered rich layers of meaning and formation through Lenten encounter. Each experience of Lent leads me more deeply into the next. It is not simply the “giving up” or “adding to” that makes Lent meaningful. In fact, we must be careful not to let fasting and almsgiving reflect self-righteousness or self-centered privilege. –Janné Grover, Lenten Formation
- If you have chosen to fast for Lent, spend some time prayerfully considering your fast so far. What are your intentions for fasting? What are you noticing as you engage in this ancient spiritual practice?
- Spend a few moments considering your social, economic, and religious “location” in the world. When is your expression of faith from this location potentially self-righteous or a reflection of privilege? What does it mean in your life to carefully discern faithful response?
- How are you invited into the deeper layers of meaning and formation during the Lenten season? Prayerfully read the text above from Isaiah 58:6-9. What is God’s invitation for you in this text?
By Katie Harmon-McLaughlin
“… and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.” Romans 5:4-5, NRSV
When the memory of the moment
You said your “sacred yes”
Grows dim and distanced in your soul…
And you question how or if
The encounter that changed you
Could have happened at all…
And you wonder if what you’ve
Committed to is more
Than you are capable of…
And the anxieties of the unknown
Begin rushing through you
As a prickling, pulsing fear…
When the burden feels too heavy,
The blessing too unclear,
And the road ahead is marked endurance…
B R E A T H E
Breathe until this crowd of questions
Narrows to the most important few.
Breathe until your hope is restored.
Breathe until your vision is clear.
Breathe until a stillness enters
And calms the storm.
Breathe until you become aware
Of the One who issued the invitation
Who remains beside you,
And works within you–
Who is doing the forming
And who is the form.
Spiritual Practice: Breathe deeply. What does it look like in your life to trust the One who is doing the forming and is also the form?
Lenten Practice: Examen
Daily Act: Reflect on your life and consider the people who have helped you grow in your faith. Write a letter of gratitude to a person who has been formative to you.
Weekly Prayer Phrase: Repeat this phrase slowly as you breathe deeply. You may choose to memorize this phrase and repeat it throughout your day.
“SEARCH MY HEART AND MAKE IT ONE WITH YOURS.”
by Katie Harmon-McLaughlin
The soul is a pliable substance
We are formed by each other
Into holy shapes
If I were to begin to express
My abounding gratitude
For the many other souls
Who have participated
In shaping my own
It might go something like this:
Thank you for seeing me
Really seeing me
For taking a risk on the worth
You thought you saw
For investing yourself
In the life of another
With no guarantee
Of anything in return
Thank you for awakening
Gifts lying dormant
And tending them
To fullest life in me
Thank you for the ways
You assured me
In each moment of doubt
Affirming my questions
The questions themselves
Pathways into the future
I could not yet see
But could somehow still trust
Each word a shaping
Each moment a molding
Not into your likeness
But into the shape of the One
Thank you for what you never
Which I noticed
Which I admired
Which I desired to live
Which spoke louder
“You hold precious lives in your hands. Be gentle and gracious with one another.” Doctrine & Covenants Section 162