We are in the midst of Lent again or the secular season of “Roll up the Rim!” (Canadians will understand). I confess that I have a long history of ambivalence toward imposed religious observances, and I have rebelled against these strictures for so long that I am now at the point where they no longer feel imposed.
Talking about and observing Lent is no longer the soul province of the liturgical church, it has become ubiquitous in the church as a whole! Perhaps people are realizing, as I am realizing, that one cannot be a disciple without discipline! I have long relied on ‘self-discipline’ which is not bad, it is after all a Fruit of the Spirit and a gift of God. A disciple though, by definition, is not self-taught. Discipline must sometimes come from outside. Lent imposes this discipline.
As a part of our Lenten discipline Linda and I have joined with our church family in using a devotion centred on the ‘Rule of Life’ in the Anglican Book of Common Prayer. For me it is a real discipline because the book seems written for someone just beginning to develop a ‘rule’ for themselves. As a member of Threshold Ministries which is a ‘missional community’ I subscribe to our common ‘rule of life’ and over the years have formed a personal ‘rule’ which I revisit regularly. For decades I have been teaching about the need to be intentional in our evangelism and this intentionality is equally important in our spiritual lives.
Following this simple guide to the ‘rule of life’ is a bit painful and I have been tempted to chuck it aside for something more challenging. As I came to realize that this was a strong temptation rising up in me I began to think that Lent was, at least in part, about resisting temptation. So I am committed to finish this race (book) in the company of my church community.
Recently I had great joy as one of the guys who is a part of Street Hope Community has applied to become an ‘evangelist in training’ with Threshold Ministries. I have watched God work in and through this gentleman for several years now and I am excited to see what God has in store for both him and Street Hope Saint John.
We have just published our latest Newsletter if you would like to see it you can go to www.streethope.ca and go to “Saint John”