Fasting at lent can seem rote or compulsory or just a convenient way to drop a few pounds. But Jesus has bigger plans for our lives than watching the scale drop. In this post, I offer a 6-week lenten sermon series for your use. But before you dive into its structure and content, let’s take a moment to consider Jesus’s why and how for fasting.
To be an amateur means you do what you do for the love of it. Not because you have to. Not because you get paid for it. And not because you have a deadline to meet. You do it because you love it. The “greats” in any craft become great because they’re amateurs first. They pursue their craft with joy, zest, and fascination.
Scripture—lectio divina, the Daily Office, biblical scholarship, and community study—has been a passion of mine before I knew the words to call it. This part of my life has held a privileged place in my schedule for so long, that I came up surprised and saddened to begin to realize just how much of our scriptures I had been neglecting.
If someone asked why we’re called to preach, we’d likely have a ready answer. We’re practiced in the art of the spiritual answer, abdicating the role of our “self” in arriving at ministry’s doorstep, preferring to lay responsibility at the feet of a divine, outside call. And that’s true. But perhaps not complete.
To help us grasp the nature of epiphanies, it helps to go deeper into the myriad ways God sheds light on our understanding through the lens of other disciplines. For each concept, I offer a brief overview, a suggested reading, and ways to connect the concept to preaching so you better “see” how to guide your listeners to see the light of Christ in our midst.
When we keep piling on the responsibilities without consideration for the prep time involved, the investment of energy required to engage, or the precedent it might be setting—then our calendars rule us instead of us ruling our calendars. That’s when preaching gets stuffed into the cracks and margins of ministry, and we end up feeling overwhelmed and exhausted by our self-defeating Sisyphisian attempts to “get on top of” our responsibilities.
Christmas is a glorious feast, and yet it can leave us drained, longing for a few minutes alone with that sleeping baby boy. We, too, need to fall on our knees to adore God. To help you renew your spirit, I’ve created a stay-at-home, guided retreat you can “take” on any quiet day during Christmastide. Designed to accommodate your choice of three schedules—one hour, three hours, or six—this retreat will guide your feet into the way of peace.