So, without going into specifics, I recently made some compromises on my Lenten discipline, and I was feeling pretty guilty for giving in. At least, that’s how I felt until I read this reflection from the Princeton Theological Seminary. It’s easy to forget that usually (not always) compromise isn’t a dirty word. Sometimes you need to step back and ask yourself what the purpose of the “law” is and whether or not you it’s actually helping you get there. In this case, I needed a way to fulfill the spirit of my practice, not the letter, and I found it. If your practice isn’t helping you to be a better parent, spouse, friend, neighbor, follower of Christ — then what’s the point? Course correction is also a useful lesson Lent can provide. Re-centering isn’t quitting the race, it’s getting back on target. So read this, and cut yourself some slack.
Getting life from the Gospel
We’re halfway through Lent. How’s your Lenten discipline going? Is it enriching to you every day? Or is it becoming weighty and time consuming?
For those of us called to proclaim the gospel, it is all too easy—especially in this penitential season—to feel encumbered by this undertaking. We tend to make the work of following Christ more important than the joy, to let our proclaiming of the gospel detract from our living out its message.
Today, Paul reminds us that we are encouraged to get our living by the gospel. While I’m fairly certain Paul is thinking of a monetary income, by “living,” I mean our daily bread, our physical, spiritual, and emotional needs. The gospel, and the Christian life the gospel calls us to, is not a burden that pushes us to do without. It’s a blessing.
So, if your Lenten discipline is giving you joy, strength, and faith in Christ, well done. Keep going. But if it is a stumbling block that keeps you from your living, leave it behind. God wants you to receive life from the gospel. In these forty days, seek ways to be revived on the journey.