My friend is the major contributor and editor of The Transfiguration Quarterly which comes from the Episcopalian Convent of the Transfiguration where I am an Associate. She is thinking about publishing the next issue reflecting upon Lent as an outward act and involving light.
Here is what I wrote for her.
Lent for the year 2020 starts on Wednesday, February 26th and ends on Thursday, April 9. The practices of Lent do not end until sundown on Holy Saturday for all Christian denominations. Typically, a time of introspection with fasting, moderation, repentance, self-denial and self-discipline, what if this year, you changed it up?
In her book, My Daily Appointment with God Lucille Sollenberger notes “How interesting that God should give the world light as one of His first gifts!” The Gospel of John says, “Light shone in the darkness and the darkness could not put it out.” Isn’t it fascinating that we can create darkness by removing light; however, we cannot create light. We are made to reflect light. If there are dark corners where you live this Lent, you may be the one to brighten up those corners with the Light of Christ. What if, instead of withdrawing you asked the Lord to help you reflect His light into the world around you? Have you noticed that when you smile more, more people around you begin to smile? Your introspection at the end of the day could be self-examen to review when might you have done better by shining?
Usually we tend to hide our light under a bucket, perhaps fearful of the criticism from others. How about if we took the Light of Christ that shines in our heart and began to share that shining with those around us? It is easy to say we love those whom we barely know. Much more of a challenge to love those whom we live with and see every day. Perhaps instead of not doing some things this Lent, you could make a pact with God to try doing more kindnesses towards those you live in proximity with. Not only smile more, but be gracious even when you do not feel like it.
We are challenged in Romans 12:10b to outdo one another in showing honor. Forty days of practicing that could bring life changes! 1 Peter 2:9 reminds us that Jesus called us out of darkness into His marvelous light. That marvelous light is ours to live in, to reflect, to bring glory to Christ by showing it to others.
“For it is the God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in clay jars, so that it may be made clear that this extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us.” 2Corinthians 4:6-7
LED bulbs are the brightest source of artificial light known to man right now. The letters stand for Light Emitting Diode. Well, granted, we do not emit light, we reflect light and the Light we reflect is the grandest known to man! An extraordinary power that belongs to God.
At https://www.learnreligions.com/what-is-lent-700774 Mary Fairchild wrote “The purpose of Lent is to set aside time for reflection on Jesus Christ—his suffering and death, his sacrifice, his life, burial, and resurrection. During the six weeks of self-examination and reflection, Christians who observe Lent typically make a commitment to fast, or to give up something—a habit, such as smoking, watching TV, swearing, or a food or drink, such as sweets, chocolate, or coffee. Some Christians also take on a Lenten discipline, such as reading the Bible and spending more time in prayer to draw nearer to God. The goal of these spiritual disciplines is to strengthen the faith of the observer and develop a closer relationship with God.”
You may find the discipline of reflecting the Light of Christ far more difficult than fasting from chocolate. I am praying that this spiritual discipline of shining forth the Light of Christ may indeed “strengthen your faith” and help you “develop a closer relationship with God.”
A typical Episcopalian response is taken from the Baptismal vows: “I will with God’s help.”