Lent musings #2

 

 

Another week of engaging with my Lent app and I am finding it a powerful way to re-focus on what is really important. The message of each daily devotion is not about me at all – no lifting me up, making me feel better about myself, no setting vision or discovering my purpose.

It’s a message that invites me to meet God in the desert places, the wilderness, the prison cell and to  linger there a while  if that is where He is speaking to me. It’s a message that  challenges me to look out, see beyond myself; to stand next to and reach out to the other, the stranger, the not-like-me.

Then as my day goes on, I am again immersed in the flow of social media, colourful, busy, exciting, enticing  me through endless memes and inspirational quotes to follow my dreams, have my best life now, believe for the impossible. I’m not sure about others but this often leaves me with a vague sense of dissatisfaction that my life is very mundane and ordinary, and that others are having much more exciting life adventures than me.

Jesus didn’t seem to say a heck of lot about personal fulfilment and I suspect at least   couple of the disciples might have had to lay their personal dreams down when making the decision to follow Him.

I saw a great tweet- “The Prosperity Gospel marketed to Millennials is not cars and money, it’s the fulfilment of personal aspirations.”(@DanielWhite). This really struck a chord with me (and I am way too old to be a Millennial). We continuously are encouraged to focus on developing ourselves: live that dream, realise our potential, take  that first step to becoming great, do something extraordinary.

Such a delicate balance between leading a life of meaning and purpose, ordinary though that might look; and  honing your life looks until it looks like the one on your Instagram account.

So I re-read the reflections for this day on my app.  And I get a glimpse of the Kingdom and the small but vital part I have to play in it. And I am content.

There may be more to learn by climbing the same mountain a hundred times than by climbing a hundred different mountains.

Richard Nelson
The Island Within

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Lent musings #1

A thought-provoking article Death, the Prosperity Doctrine and Me was sent to me by my husband yesterday, and then it popped up on my FB feed. It’s a beautiful and honest piece written by the author just after she was diagnosed with stage 4 liver cancer at the age of 35. I’ve read it several times  since then and it’s really challenged me.

The temptations of the world are so subtle. We might say we don’t buy into a prosperity doctrine but I am challenged almost daily at the moment as to how this has subtly leeched into my theology. There’s a fine line between  being grateful for the blessings that flow from grace and being confident as a child of God; and expecting that God will provide me with the life and opportunities I secretly think I deserve. Yes God has a plan and a purpose for our lives but it might (in fact probably won’t) be quite what we have lined up for ourselves.

Coincidentally (or not I suspect) I’m working through a 40 Days of Lent app which focuses on matters about as far away from the prosperity gospel as you can go. This is the first time I’ve really focused on Lent (I’m ashamed to say) and it is definitely changing my perspective.

“Into the Desert” is a fantastic free digital resource (available on Google Play and in the AppStore) put out by the Australian Anglican Board of Mission. consists of daily scriptures, reflections and prayers for the 40 days leading up to Easter. It explores the imagery of the desert, the words of the desert fathers and mothers, and  importance of the wilderness and emptiness at times in our journey. It’s not too late to jump into the study if you are looking for something to hone your focus at this time.

“Do not always want everything to turn out as you think it should, but rather as God pleases; then you will always be undisturbed and grateful in your prayer.”
  Abba Nilusafrica-1170029_1920