On Sunday we engaged the second pair of the heavenly virtues:
Peace that state of existence that is characterised by calm, tolerant, at-ease with God and self and others; and
Kindness which incorporates the idea of loving acts motivated by a genuine desire to treat others well
This week’s Lent Experience offers some practices that help us live in these virtues of Peace and Kindness as a part of acknowledging, challenging and asking for God’s help with the 2 Deadly Sins that undermine our desire to live lives of restraint and sacrifice: Wrath – uncontrollable anger and hatredEnvy – an insatiable desire for what another has We discovered that both of these are draw intense emotional responses and are rooted in our expectations, the way we ourselves, God and the world. As you go through this week, be aware as insight surfaces around the reality of wrath and envy in your life and the positive impact of seeking peace and practising kindness!
The daily devotional pattern that we are providing as part of the Lent Experience is an opportunity to create space for God to get your Inside Straight. It’s a simple rhythm with the same basic activity set for each day. If you miss one, don’t stress – leave it and move on or try it another day – the most important thing is that we seek God’s presence this day (rather than beat ourselves up for yesterday’s omissions). Keeping a journal in hard copy or on the media device of your choice is a great way of keeping track of your Lent Experience.
REFLECT offers an opportunity to process and decide what this week will look like following on from our time together on Sunday and the week that has been. Take some time to reflect on whether wrath and envy are a part of your life – it could present itself in a person who consistently draws anger from you (what is it about your relationship that arouses that in you?), it could be road rage, yelling at the kids, feeling resentful at the opportunities or possessions of another (and why not you?) As you come across these things, what are your options for replacing them with the corresponding virtues of peace and kindness? Seeking places of peace and offering kindness.
READ is a chance to engage with the scriptures. Take the scripture into your day. Maybe a key phrase or print it out and reflect on it when you have some down time at the lights, in a queue, feeding the baby etc. This week’s scripture is Psalm 34 – it’s a great way to pray peace for your life and to acknowledge the God who offers us kindness.
RESTRAIN is a day of fasting. Today we’re abstaining from cruel words – on THIS list of cruel words we are including words of anger, road rage, gossip, bad language. If you find yourself breaking the fast don’t say *#^&%&! Instead, ask God for grace and peace and continue on with your day.
RESPOND is taking up the challenge to notice the needs of another and to respond with action. This week’s RESPOND is to practise kindness. Look for opportunities to be kind to others, make them if you have to and if there is someone who sparks anger in you consistently or you envy them for what they have and you don’t, be especially kind to them…The point is to NOTICE others and to RESPOND from what we have. Bonus for 10 – you have a peace retreat available to you this evening at Commoners from 7.30pm at the depot. Come drink at this oasis of peace.
RECALL FRIDAY is a call to pray the events, experiences and emotions of the past week. To recall and to offer them to God. Being real about the disappointments and thankful for the positives. Setting aside 5-10 minutes of quiet for this special TGIF will likely help you make this happen.
Take some time out to do something that is personally refreshing to you. It doesn’t have to be long or expensive. But treat yourself to the gift of a little personal down time or attention. Allow the moment to RESTORE you.