Dear Members and Friends,

The season of Lent begins on March 1st, Ash Wednesday, and continues into April. It is always preparation for the passion and the self-giving of Christ. Lent allows us to observe our Lord at work in us and in others, rather than miss the great promises and blessings of Good Friday and Easter.

In his book, Making All Things New, Henri Nouwen offers the following thoughts. Lent requires of us some concentration and discipline and here is why:

A spiritual life without discipline is impossible. Discipline is the other side of discipleship. The practice of a spiritual discipline makes us more sensitive to the small, gentle voice of God. The prophet Elijah did not encounter God in the mighty wind or in the earthquake or in the fire, but in the small voice (I Kings 19:9-13). Through the practice of a spiritual discipline we become attentive to that small voice and willing to respond when we hear it.

It is clear that we are usually surrounded by so much inner and outer noise that it is hard to truly hear our God when he is speaking to us. We have often become deaf, unable to know when God calls us and unable to understand in which direction he calls us. Thus our lives have become absurd. In the word absurd we find the Latin word surdus, which means ‘deaf’. A spiritual life requires discipline because we need to learn to listen to God, who constantly speaks but whom we seldom hear. When, however, we learn to listen, our lives become obedient lives. The word obedient comes from the Latin word audire, which means ‘listening’. A spiritual discipline is necessary in order to move slowly from an absurd to an obedient life, from a life filled with noisy worries to a life in which there is some free inner space where we can listen to our God and follow his guidance. Jesus’ life was a life of obedience. He was always listening to the Father, always attentive to his voice, always alert for his directions. Jesus was “all ear.” That is true prayer: being all ear for God.

Through a spiritual discipline we prevent the world from filling our lives to such an extent that there is no place left to listen. A spiritual discipline sets us free to pray or, to say it better, allows the Spirit of God to pray in us.

Overwhelming Grace Be With You

Reverend David R. Harkness, Minister

David R. Harkness
David R. HarknessIPC Minister