Lent: A Novice’s Experience

I’m practicing Lent for the first time in my life.  This has happened because Canton Adventist, one of the faith communities I serve, is following the Christian year: submitting to its seasons, scriptures and festivals. The liturgy of the Christian year has been so rich with meaning for me.  I am grateful for what I have been experiencing as a result of submitting to this calendar.
So now it’s Lent.  Lent began for me by gathering with my church family for Ash Wednesday.  Through music, scripture, prayer and symbol we mourned for our world, confessed our sinfulness as God’s people, asked for forgiveness and a renewed heart for the things of God, acknowledged our own mortality through the imposition of ash and received bread and wine as an act of faith in the promise of salvation through Jesus Christ.  It was a moving and reflective time for me.
Part of the Lenten experience is to follow Jesus’ example of wilderness fasting.  By removing a regular habit of daily life and opening a window of time in our day, we allow God to fill that void with his presence, nurture and power.  As this season drew close, I considered what my fast would entail.  I decided I would not listen to the radio in my car or watch TV at home.  I knew this wouldn’t be easy for me.  With the driving that I do, the radio helps me pass the time.  And TV has been my nightly unwind after a full day of work and parenting. 
So I’ve been doing this for a week now.  Here’s what’s happened so far: I immediately started substituting YouTube videos and computer work to compensate for no TV.  The internet as entertainment was never a big deal for me, but as soon as I couldn’t watch TV, internet became my new friend.  So now, I’ve had to impose a 10:00 pm deadline on all computer activities as well.  Otherwise, I would have just immediately replaced one electronic instrument for the other and God gets no more room in my life.  As far as radio, that hasn’t been as big of a deal. I’ve just had to catch myself from reflexively punching the power button when I get in my car.
But so far, no magnificent encounters with God.  Just getting used to life without TV.  And you know, it’s not killing me.  I’m doing OK.  I’ll let you know next week how Week Two goes.
In the meantime, I’d love to hear what your Lent experience has been like.  It would be very cool to have multiple journals running on what we’re experiencing–the good, the bad and the ugly.  Thanks for taking the time to post your journey here!

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