By Katherine Will
Music and Worship Coordinator
“I invite you, therefore, in the name of the Church, to the observance of a holy Lent, by self-examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting, and self-denial; and by reading and meditating on God’s holy Word” (Ash Wednesday Liturgy, BCP pg. 265).
This winter, several of us in the parish have been reading and discussing Nathan Foster’s The Making of an Ordinary Saint: My Journey from Frustration to Joy with the Spiritual Disciplines. In it Nathan describes his own experience with individually exploring the traditional spiritual disciplines of submission, fasting, study, solitude, meditation, confession, simplicity, service, prayer, guidance and worship. All of these have been practiced over the centuries in one form or another by multitudes of people seeking to be closer to God, from saints and monks to the desert fathers and mothers, and including many in our pews here at Grace.
The apostle Paul encouraged the early Christian church to “train yourself in godliness” (1 Titus 4:7). Those early Christians were used to the idea of the Greek Olympic athlete, so they needed no explanation. But we modern Christians need to remember: if we want to become like Jesus, then we should train like Jesus and follow his examples of prayer, fasting, meditation, solitude, study, submission, etc. Spiritual disciplines are a way to practice (train), so that we can form habits that allow us to become more Christ-like and live more fully in the kingdom of God, both on earth and in heaven.
There are many ways that you can practice spiritual disciplines. There are devotional guides in our Commons to help you and your family begin the practice of daily worship and study. Maybe you will want to pull out and revisit the Benedictine Rule of Life we have studied in past years. You may want to explore a special service project. Or you could devote some time to reading scriptures and writings by some of the saints. Whatever discipline you choose, I encourage you to use these forty days of Lent to continue your growth in the fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Have a holy and blessed Lent!