I make a wrong turn and I hear the smooth voice of my GPS say “recalculating.” She (my GPS is a “she”) is very sensitive to missed turns. She doesn’t like me to travel on the wrong path for very long. Driving is easy compared to life. In life, I can make lots of wrong turns, say the wrong thing to the people around me, get lost in the fog of my own thinking, and get so busy I forget to fill my tank.
Lent is a time of recalculating. In some ways, it is a timeout, a God-given excuse to reset our lives. Am I on the wrong path? Have I taken a wrong turn? Wandered a bit from God or who I think God wants me to be? Are my energies depleted and along with my energies, have I forgotten to love those around me as I should?
During Lent sometimes people give something up as a means of recalculating. Sometimes people take something up.
For example, we might
Give up salty foods.
Take up eating two vegetables each day. (Your doctor will love you for this.)
Give up blaming people.
Take up forgiving.
Give up judging people.
Take up assuming people are doing the best they can at the time.
Give up social media one day a week.
Take up a family reading night.
Give up swearing.
Take up silently asking for God’s blessing on the people around us.
Give up taking the best parking spot.
Take up parking in the furthest spot.
Give up time on the sofa.
Take up helping with a chore.
Give up seeing the worst in others.
Take up seeing and acknowledging the best.
Lent is not an exercise plan or a diet plan. It is really about getting out of old routines that may have become ruts and making time and space for God to set us on a new path.
This Wednesday I am inviting you to the launch of this recalculating season. Our Ash Wednesday service will be held at 7 pm. We will sing and read some scripture and then one by I will place ashes on your forehead or hand in the sign of a cross. Someone will place them on mine. I will say “from dust you have come and to dust you shall return.” All of us, very human, capable of getting off track. And then we will pray for a better path, a renewed sense of direction.
And then we will set off on the journey to Easter together.
And God will meet us there.
Blessings to you,
Pastor Cindy Hickman
West Des Moines United Methodist Church
720 Grand Ave.
West Des Moines, IA 50265