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Lent should give us time to think

As a generation, we live as people who seem to move faster and faster. The illusion is that the more we move, the more we get done.

However, as too many of us learn the hard way, exhaustion does not equal accomplishment. And trying to drink from the fire hose of information (news, social media, or even the “old-school” printed word) can leave us feeling flattened like a bug on the super highway.

The Christian season of Lent was introduced as a way to slow down (and this from centuries ago when they truly measured speed according to one horse-power).

Rather than charging full speed to the observances of the final days, death and the resurrection of Jesus from the tomb, the Church felt it was important to slow down.

It was important to think about all that Jesus had taught. It was important to consider the example of character and temperament he had set. It was vital to consider the grace he offered to us in the face of our mistakes, and to be forgiven to strive again to follow in his footsteps.

Lent is a season of weeks each spring, in which Christians are called to a time of renewal. Just as the world around us experiences new growth, we too are meant to discover fresh ways of living in relationship with God and those around us.

This is true of us as individuals, but it is also true of us as the Church. We are not independent souls but intended to be part of a Body.

Jesus did not call one person to follow him, he called many to come together as his people. How we live with each other as disciples and share together the gifts God has given is itself an expression of faithfulness to Christ.

Indeed, the early Christian community was often reminded of the words of Jesus, of how they were to treat each other, as an example to the world, “Love one another, just as I have loved you, so you should love one another.” (John 13:34). Our world needs just such an example in better living.

So slow down. Enter these coming weeks at a walking pace, the way Jesus did. And may we discover an ability to listen more deeply, to care more fully, to offer grace more freely. After all, Christ offered it freely to us.

Rev. Michael Kendall is lead pastor of Farmville United Methodist church. He can be reached at mkendall@farmvulleumc.org.