For millennia Christians have marked the forty days leading up to Easter as a season of repentance, self-examination, prayer, and preparation. One of the most ancient practices of this season we call Lent is fasting. The practice of fasting draws our attention to how much we depend on things—things that are not God—to satisfy our souls. And it reminds us that what we need most in this life is a living relationship with God.
There’s something about the season of Lent that strips things down, clears away the clutter, and makes more room in our hearts for God. It invites us to remember what matters most. It helps us consider what is “the heart of the matter” when it comes to our faith.
There are several places in the scriptures that point us to “the heart of the matter.” Jesus gave us the greatest commandment: “Love God and love your neighbor as yourself.” The Book of James put it this way: “Care for widows and orphans in their distress and keep oneself unstained by the world.” And the prophet Micah said, “What does the Lord require of you but to do justice and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God?”
These powerful words of Micah will be our theme during the season of Lent. We will take a deep dive into the biblical notions of justice, mercy, and walking with God. We will explore episodes from the prophets and from Jesus’ ministry as a way of understanding how we are called to be a people of justice, mercy, and humility. We will learn about ways we can work together humbly to build a more just and merciful community.
Not only will we be reading scripture together, but we will also read Praying with Our Feet by Lindsey Krinks, a street chaplain here in Nashville and co-founder of Open Table Nashville. She will help us reflect on what it means to follow Jesus with our heart, hands, and feet right here in our own community. Our daily prayers will be guided by Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals, and I pray that all of these resources will help draw us toward Christ’s justice and mercy, as we walk humbly together with God during this holy season of Lent.
Rev. Carol Cavin-Dillon