If this has been true for you as well, we invite you to consider Lent from a new perspective this year—not as a time when we have to do something to make ourselves suffer, because that’s what we learned in the religion of our childhood, but as an opportunity to grow in relationship with Christ, because that’s the only way we will find true joy and fulfillment. Here at New Roads, we are trying to make this relationship the center of everything we do, and to help people at all stages of the faith journey to take their next steps in developing this relationship, even and especially if the next step for you happens to be the first significant step you have taken to grow in relationship with Christ since your baptism.
So we want to invite you to consider this Lent as an opportunity to grow in relationship with Christ. We will be doing this through our message series on “Why Choose Christ?” and we invite you to take that journey with us. We will explore together why one might choose to follow Christ and what it really means to be his disciple. Our message series this Lent will help us to find the points of contact between Christ’s life story and our own that will help us to identify with him, to recognize the ways in which he is already at work in our lives, and to become more intentional disciples.
Each week of Lent, our “Take Your Next Step” blog, appearing in both the Wednesday Flocknote e-mail and the Sunday bulletin column, will feature several members of our community offering a brief, personal response to the week’s reflection question. If you are interested in offering one of these responses, please e-mail Kathy O’Leary (firstname.lastname@example.org). The question for the first Sunday of Lent is: Are you ready to follow Christ?
So there is an urgency to Ash Wednesday, but it is not the urgency of an obligation to fulfill, but the urgency to pay attention, to make sure we don’t miss the opportunity that Lent offers us to reconsider our relationship with Christ. As you try to imagine what concrete form this might take for you, you might consider making a commitment to something that could help you to grow in that relationship. Maybe it’s ten minutes of daily prayer. Maybe it’s coming to Mass more regularly. Maybe it’s coming to Scripture reflection for the first time to hear Christ’s word to you. Maybe it’s coming to our Lenten simple suppers on Friday evenings, which will include an opportunity for conversation about the week’s question. Making any kind of commitment like this will surely require a tradeoff—we can’t just add things to our lives without adjusting something else. So as we begin our Lenten journey, we are invited to choose our Lenten practices based on an honest self-evaluation: What will help me to grow in relationship with Christ?
Take your next step: Take some time to ask yourself: What step can I take this Lent to help me grow closer to Christ? What might I have to let go of in order to take this step?