Good morning all!
Then each of them went home, while Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.Early in the morning he came again to the temple. All the people came to him and he sat down and began to teach them. The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery; and making her stand before all of them, they said to him, ‘Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery. Now in the law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?’They said this to test him, so that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, ‘Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.’ And once again he bent down and wrote on the ground. When they heard it, they went away, one by one, beginning with the elders; and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. Jesus straightened up and said to her, ‘Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?’ She said, ‘No one, sir.’ And Jesus said, ‘Neither do I condemn you. Go your way, and from now on do not sin again.’
As I was doing my morning scan of the world (ie when I wake up I check my email, then scan facebook to see what is up with people, then I quickly scan a few newspapers online to see what is up in other parts of the world) I saw a post from the pastor of “The House for all Sinners and Saints.” This is a fantastic ELCA church in Denver pastored by the fantastic Nadia Bolz-Weber. The post was “40 ideas for keeping a Holy Lent.” So I immediately went to her blog to see what those 40 ideas are. The very first idea is Day 1. Pray for your enemies.
I stopped and thought, “wow, right off the bat.” Just pray away. Pray for the enemies. Well, that certainly takes the focus off of you, doesn’t it? To pray for your enemies as the number one activity to keep a holy Lent surely refocuses the season. I was wondering about the other ideas…I read ahead.
Day 2. Walk, carpool, bike or bus it. (again, refocusing your day).
Day 3. Don’t turn on the car radio.
Day 4. Give $20 to a non profit of your choice. (That would be today)
And then it pauses each Sunday for Sabbath and worship. I will post the rest down below but I really like these ideas. Instead of giving up or taking on, each day really refocuses in order to make the season a holy season. Today I shall give $20 bucks to a non profit of my choice and it will be intentionally for Lent.
In the scripture above, Jesus refocuses the tattle tale message into one of forgiveness, community, and holiness. It defuses the situation enough to refocus to God. Redemption is achieved, and now he can focus on the bigger picture. We could learn from this, eh?
Here is the rest of the list….
Day 5: Take 5 minutes of silence at noon
Day 6: Look out the window until you find something of beauty you had not noticed before
Day 7: Give 5 items of clothing to Goodwill
Day 8: No bitching day
Day 9: Do someone else’s chore
Day 10: Buy a few $5 fast food gift cards to give to homeless people you encounter
Day 11: Call an old friend
Day 12: Pray the Paper (pray for people and situations in today’s news)
Day 13: Read Psalm 139 http://bible.oremus.org
Day 14: Pay a few sincere compliments
Day 15: Bring your own mug
Day 16: Educate yourself about human trafficking www.praxus.org
Day 17: Forgive someone
Day 18: Internet diet
Day 19: Change one light in your house to a compact florescent
Day 20: Check out morning and evening prayer at http://dailyoffice.wordpress.com
Day 21: Ask for help
Day 22: Tell someone what you are grateful for
Day 23: Introduce yourself to a neighbor
Day 24: Read Psalm 121 http://bible.oremus.org
Day 25: Bake a cake
Day 26: No shopping day
Day 27: Light a virtual candle http://rejesus.co.uk/spirituality/post_prayer/
Day 28: Light an actual candle
Day 29: Write a thank you note to your favorite teacher
Day 30: Invest in canvas shopping bags
Day 31: Use Freecycle www.freecycle.org
Day 32: Donate art supplies to your local elementary school
Day 33: Read John 8:1-11 http://bible.oremus.org
Day 34: Worship at a friend’s mosque, synogogue or church and look for the beauty
Day 35: Confess a secret
Day 36: No sugar day – where else is there sweetness in your life?
Day 37: Give $20 to a local non-profit
Day 38: Educate yourself about a saint www.catholic.org/saints
Day 39: Pray for peace
Day 40: Pray for your enemies (you probably have new ones by now) then decide which of these exercises you’ll keep for good
Prayer: O God, help us to see ways that this season becomes holy. Open our eyes to new experiences of forgiveness and reconciliation in your light. Amen.