We concluded the Inside Straight series this week with a look at Ephesians 4 - we discovered how we trump ourselves - living stupid by embracing the "if it feels good, do it" worldview and lifestyle. Whatever feels good – do that – this is at the heart of the 7 deadly sins, it’s at the heart of the human condition – it’s ultimately why greed drives massive environmental degradation and human exploitation and devastating wars, it’s why gluttony is fattening up the obesity statistics and binge drinkingit’s why lust is leading to the enslaving of people – both consumer and “provider” as one of 30 million slaves in the world today, it’s why envy is cooking up a fashion feeding frenzy and brand jealousy that leads to people wasting money on poor quality goods with the right label, its why wrath is driving up road rage statistics and domestic violence, its why sloth just can’t be bothered doing anything about this hardening of heart that leads us to accept a mediocre existenceits why pride right now is telling you I’m not actually talking about you, but about someone else, that I’m exaggerating and none of this matters because you’re OK, but you just subtly started paying attention in case anyone noticed you had drifted away because it doesn’t apply to you…
But we get to put on the new self by having our mind renewed and we get to live truthfully in right relationship with God and fully expressing our humanity instead of a stunted, anemic version of life.
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. With this week being the last week of our Lent Experience take some time to reflect on what Lent has meant for you in 2014. What spiritual practices will you take forward post-Easter?
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 131...it's a short and sweet Psalm that you can take into the day.
RESTRAIN is a day of fasting. Today we're fasting from the one thing that trips us up and tempts us to overindulge - it could be food, media, anything really.
RESPOND is taking up the challenge to notice the needs of another and to respond with action. This week’s RESPOND is to surrender to others, to give way, to yield - as we reflect on Christ's arrest and detention we lay down our right to be right.