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Lent: Repentance, Returning, Renewal, Revival

Chasing Justice is hard. The work of overthrowing powers and principalities systems and structures requires rootedness. It is thankless, it is exhausting, and it is dangerous. That is why Lent is a grace to me as one who is committed to chasing justice. Lent invites us to focus on the life and death of Jesus. To enter in to the full beauty of his words and deeds embodied in love and grace. And to enter into the evil injustice of his suffering persecution and death.  Lent prepares us to celebrate the resurrection and return of Christ by going THROUGH the cross-not ignoring it. Lent marks a season of preparation and devotion lasting 40 days until Holy Week. There is no secret power unlocked when we come off of Facebook and Twitter or stop eating chocolate. There is however an examination of what things in our life are creating good, and what things feel good but do not CREATE good. Sustainable spirituality is rooted in God’s goodness.   

Repentance and Returning come from the same Hebrew word- shuv. The invitation God makes to God’s people is to turn, return, repent. The invitation is to actively choose God’s presence. (the opposite of the hiding in the garden) Let’s ask ourselves some questions:

  1. What Where am I in proximity to God? Running from God, familiar with God, connected to God? How did I get here?
  2. What rhythms renew me? What am I doing that causes peace love joy and hope to flourish in my life instead of fear, jealousy, hatred, and hardness?

Renewal and Revival come from Greek words that have the meaning of flourishing anew and to a greater level.  The spiritual practices we do during lent don’t just help us to recover – they bring us to a different level of faith. Let’s ask ourselves some questions:

  1. What would I like to see flourishing in my faith? What needs new life? What are you God inviting me to level up in?
  2. What rhythms help me to be attentive to God? What distractions need to go?

As you enter into our first week consider this resource. Jesus gave his life to renew all things (Rev 21) He can certainly renew us!

“Donna has experience in sustainable life-giving transformational ministry. Her book has given us the gift of those practices that continue to fuel this work of shalom and justice. Her wisdom is seen in how she invites us to change the world through rebirth, good news, and love while paying attention to the reality of suffering. Donna envisioned and created the devotional that I wish I was given in my toughest days of pastoral and community work.”
Sandra Maria Van Opstal
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