Our spiritual theme for March is "Renewing Faith." I keep thinking about all the ways this can be interpreted and am looking forward to what the month brings forth for us all.
This week Lent began. Although I was not raised in the Christian faith -- I was raised unchurched in a quite secular home -- I have learned to have appreciation for various Christian seasons, including Lent and Advent. Lent is the 40 days, not including Sundays, that lead up to Easter. It's common to hear people talk about "giving up" something for Lent -- coffee, chocolate, sugar, meat, or alcohol among them.
Christianity is not a monolith, as we sometimes like to think, and that may be a practice for Lent in some Christian traditions. But the heart of Lenten practices is to make space in our lives for what we find meaningful by removing distractions.
While I was in seminary, I came across a "40 Bags in 40 Days" challenge. A woman started this practice for decluttering her home to make space in her life and her family's life and rid themselves of the physical excesses they had. Every day they collected a bag of something to donate or trash. She assured readers that it could be a Ziploc sandwich bag, it just had to be a bag.
Unable to commit to a bag, I promised myself to find at least one item each day that I was willing to part with or willing to accept needed to be thrown away. I got so much out of it, I held this practice for a few years, and may try it again this year. It was freeing to reflect on how much stuff exists and collects in our (my) lives and to notice how it felt to make more physical space in my home, which led me to feel more space in my heart and mind.
Whether it's reconnecting with, renewing after a crisis, or some other way and for whatever reason, may we all feel a sense of closeness with our faith, however we define it. (It takes so many words to be inclusive sometimes!) May your heart and spirit be full, rested, and replenished by joy or peace or love or hope.
If you'd like to reach out: You can reach me through email at firstname.lastname@example.org,
In faith and service, Rev. Kristina Spaude
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