If we’re going on a journey most of us pack a bag, maybe do a little research into where we’re headed, make sure that we have at least some of the things we are likely to need. So today is a day to do that, if you haven’t already. Even if it is just a few moments set aside with God, reflect on how you want to start the journey – the journey itself will bring other unexpected things, but let’s at least work out where to begin – let’s start out knowing where to find the first bus stop so to speak.
I’d like to suggest that a good place to begin is by focusing on what is right in your life and not what’s wrong. Let’s find the good stuff and have more of it – pressed down and running over. So, think about that first – what’s right in your life right now? It doesn’t have to be much – maybe you’re happy you made it to chapel today. Start there – what’s right about that? What’s making you feel good? And when we start to think about those things, it is likely that where we will end up is in gratitude – thanksgiving for the things that are right. And already we are doing the very thing that God loves – ‘those who bring thanksgiving as their sacrifice, (their offering) honour me.”
So, we could make a discipline of that. And there’s a fine tradition of thanksgiving in our church that does just that – David Stendhal-Rast’s wonderful website gratefulness.org shows the way. But we don’t need to make it that complicated. Just buy a notebook or create a file on your device and write down three things every day that you are thankful for – and trust me there will be three, even on the most difficult day – breathing is always a good start! And before you know it, you could actually find yourself enjoying Lent and rather hoping it could go on for longer!
I came across a rather good poster that suggested that Lent is a journey of discovery by addition, subtraction and introspection. I’m suggesting a possible addition in line with today’s psalm – a daily offering of thanksgiving that honours God. You might like to think today about the subtraction bit – and by doing that you will already be practising introspection, the reflective skill that creates inner space in which God can move and act.
So as we prepare to set out on our Lenten journey, this is a bit of a compass to help us keep our bearings. If we are giving thanks, we can be sure that we are bringing honour to God, and that is a great place from which to begin again and again in the coming days. Amen
by Penny Jones