Lent is the season when the church calls on us to focus on our spiritual life, and those things that get in the way of growing in our relationship with God, the world, and others. Many of us give up something. Many of us take on something.
And if you’re like me, perhaps you are just figuring out your Lenten discipline as your eat your Shrove Tuesday pancakes! And so…I share this…
Look at the questions she poses. Do they sound familiar?
“I don’t have enough time to do all the things.”
“I don’t have anything worth contributing.”
“Our congregation is so much smaller and grayer than it used to be.”
“We’re gonna have to send these church budget requests back to committees to be pared down, because our projected giving is down 10%.”
She goes on to write:
[These sentiments] play in loops in individuals’ heads and reverberate through sanctuaries of all sizes. They are the product of scarcity thinking, of focusing on what we don’t have. The scarcity mindset is rampant in our culture, manifesting in the beliefs that we need to guard what we have and prepare for the worst possible scenario. And unfortunately, while we worship a God who created the universe out of a dark and formless void and follow a Savior who was all about opening up the law and the bounds of community, this thinking has trickled down into our churches. The result is that many of our people are afraid to dream and reach out, instead turning inward and wondering how long our congregations will be able to hold on.
(You can read the full article here, and access her other writing and resources.)
Our God is one who created out of scarcity a world full of abundance and a people full of faith, love, hope and creativity. What if this year for Lent you gave up thinking that you’re no longer doing effective ministry? What if you gave up seeing the scarcity and instead focused on the abundance? What might you find for your work in God’s abundant world? Can you make abundance contagious?
Blessings for a Holy Lent!
Carolyn Moomaw Chilton