How We Practice Our Faith

Join us on this Journey through Lent as we explore how we practice our faith through readings and discussion

Sunday, February 28, 2010


“Christianity roots its healing ministry in the good soil of the Church as a community of ordinary people who come together to do things with God’s help that they could not do in their own strength.” - Una Kroll

The concept of healing has roots to biblical times; through the life and ministry of Jesus Christ as revealed in the gospels we are given many images of healing, as well as stories of healing at the hands of Saints throughout history. The concept of healing is just as important in modern times as it was in the early church, and in our Episcopal tradition the sacrament of healing (unction) has become a common practice in many congregations. Many people find that comfort in the action of anointing and laying on of hands. To them, the action can help in the attainment of peace with whatever has caused the “illness”, be it a physical condition or emotional pain and suffering.

From a global perspective, Christians have taken on roles of “healers” in many parts of the world. Efforts by Christian communities ushered in an age of improved healthcare through the construction of hospitals and other medical facilities where healthcare was not adequately available to the local population. Through the compassionate actions of Christian communities, the believers were able to participate in acts of healing that helped in bringing a sense of wholeness to those in need.

What are some of the ways your own church community practices “healing”? Do you find that your community can offer the support you need when you yourself are in need of healing? How can your chosen Lenten disciplines bring you to a sense of wholeness?

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Saying Yes and Saying No

Saying "Yes" or saying "No" easily comes to many of us when asked a question. We may say "Yes" because we say "Yes" to everything or we may say "No" because that is our standard default. However, what many of us may not think about is whenever we say "No" we are emphatically saying "Yes" to something (and vice versa - when we say "Yes" we are saying "No" to something).

In an abundant Christian life, our individual and communal relationship with God, is a journey fraught with choices that influences ourselves and others. Every day is an opportunity to make choices; choices that influence our personal, work, and spiritual lives and have an impact on those around us in our world.

During this Lenten Season encourage yourself to strengthen your yeses and noes through prayer or with the help of a faith-sharing group. Review recent decisions, choices, actions, omissions, attitudes, and desires by asking how these impact your relationship with God, with yourself, and with others. To what or to whom have you said "Yes" or "No" this day, this week, this month, and this year? What motivated you to say "Yes" or "No"?

What spiritual exercise will you begin this Lent that will enhance, deepen your love of Christ, and nourish the life of faith lived in community?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Painting Fence Posts

“A white post will only continue to be a white post if it is painted white every year; otherwise it will become a black post. Our lives are like that. We need to share in an annual retraining period. Otherwise our souls become tarnished, our prayers mere words, our service selfish, and our giving trivial. Lent is a time of renewal, of retraining, of relearning.” - William Sydnor

In his book, “Keeping the Christian Year”, William Sydnor gave suggestions on our Lenten observations. He talks of self-denial through fasting from certain things, such as excessive caffeine, sweets and other types of food, or TV. This type of discipline is what seems to be the majority of what people will be doing over the course of the season. But what are other things people might be doing over the next couple of weeks? What about giving up our excess material possessions (treasures on earth)? My closet and drawers would love for me to go through them and give away clothes to those who might have more need of them! Like fasting, giving of our material possessions knows no bounds, and there are certainly people who could benefit from our excesses.

In addition to fasting and giving up our excess possessions we may have made a promise to take something on. Perhaps it is endeavoring to pray more, or developing a greater understanding of our worship services and practices, maybe reading scripture daily, or some other form of devotion, or using our God-given gifts and abilities to serve others.

Whatever you may have chosen to give up or to take on this Lenten Season, my prayer is that it brings you closer into relationship with God, your neighbor, and yourself; and may this season leave you with a sense of renewal, retraining, and relearning.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Preparing for Lent

In basic terms, Lent is the season before Easter. For many, Lent is a time of preparation, penance, and devotion. The 40 days of Lent represent the time Jesus spent in the wilderness before beginning his public ministry. Sundays are not included in these forty days, because every Sunday is a feast of the resurrection - thus, Sundays are never fast days.

When you think of Lent many images, practices, and rituals may come to mind; fasting, ashes, pancakes, purple, palms, and the list could go on and on. Fasting has always been synonymous with Lent. Fasting is considered a spiritual discipline because it helps us pay more attention. When we fast, we suddenly notice food and how much it occupies our live. By recognizing this, we can redirect some of our energy spent on the pleasure of food toward other important matters.

Fasting in Lent does not always need to be only about food. We can also fast from other things, such as behaviors, which draw our attention away from God. In whatever way we choose to participate, the church gives us forty days to prepare our hearts and lives for the great miracle of Easter.

How will you prepare for Lent?