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Lent and Beyond: Next in the Lenten collaborative series
Prydain ^ | 3/04/2006 | Will

Posted on 03/04/2006 7:37:17 AM PST by sionnsar

Next in the Lenten collaborative series from Lent and Beyond, we have Packing Light for the Journey of Lent, by Fr. Bob Hackendorf and courtesy of the Transfigurations blog. Fr. Hackendorf has written a most interesting (and wise) piece here on the need to come to God for His provisions daily. By all means please read it.

TOPICS: Mainline Protestant
This is the fifth in a series of daily Lenten devotionals by a group of Anglican bloggers and friends. Today’s entry is courtesy of the Transfigurations blog. Pat Dague chose not to write a meditation herself, but to ask Fr. Bob Hackendorf to write for the Transfigurations slot. You can read other entries in the series here.

Packing Light for the Journey of Lent
Father Bob Hackendorf

Above all, Lent is a spiritual journey and its destination is Easter, “the Feast of Feasts.” It is the preparation for the “fulfillment of Pascha, the true Revelation.”

It is our whole faith that by His own death Christ changed the very nature of death, made it a passage — a “passover,” a “Pascha” — into the Kingdom of God, transforming the tragedy of tragedies into the ultimate victory.

A journey, a pilgrimage! Yet, as we begin it, as we make the first step into the “bright sadness” of Lent, we see — far, far away — the destination. It is the joy of Easter, it is the entrance into the glory of the Kingdom.
— Fr Alexander Schmemann, Great Lent

And he called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits. He charged them to take nothing for their journey except a staff–no bread, no bag, no money in their belts– but to wear sandals and not put on two tunics. Mark 6:7-9 (ESV)

You can’t take it with you. This well-worn bit of human wisdom says more than it first appears. The corollary to this saying is “the journey is long, so pack light.”

This cuts against the grain of my personality. I am, by nature, a “pack rat.” I suppose that the root of this malady is my fear that I might some day have a need for something and be found wanting. So, to play it safe, I keep everything. Well, not quite everything, but close enough.

The price one pays for this fear is a great burden. It is to carry the fear of the future on your back, and it is a crushing load.

There is a well-worn human tendency to always be fighting “yesterday’s war.” We have already wrestled with yesterday’s enemy, we know his tactics and objectives well, and so we fight bravely, except that we are often boxing the air spiritually, because the enemy has adapted to changing circumstances and we, sadly, have not. We are trying to provide for our current needs out the reservoir of the past, and it is usually lacking.

Each day, God provides enough for that day.

Our past—with the experience and wisdom it provides us, is only of limited value in facing tomorrow’s battles.

The Lord’s Prayer models this for us, as we pray each day for that day’s bread. The manna in the Wilderness was always enough for each day, not a bit more. Hoarding is useless. Each day is a fresh exercise in trusting the Lord.

Receiving all that we can from the Lord is predicated on mastering the graceful art of letting go.
It is obvious to most of us that we need to let go of the negativity and resentments of our past—it is less obvious that even the good things God has given us can grow stale or even become idols to us if we are not willing to put them aside. Yahweh’s unthinkable demand of Abraham on Mount Moriah reminds us that even the greatest gifts God has given us can become a burden if they become too important to us.

Do we have enough faith to allow God to teach us new things?

Are we willing to vary our customary way of approaching Daily Prayer and our devotional reading of Scripture? Sometimes a fresh approach can bring new insight. Perhaps we could try a different Bible translation for a season of time, perhaps use a different edition of the Prayer Book than we usually use for our private devotions (try this to find both classic and contemporary prayer books from many branches of the Anglican Communion, or here to use the daily office from the Roman Catholic tradition.). If your churchmanship tends towards things Catholic, try reading a respected author from the Renewal or Evangelical movements, or vice-versa. Good Calvinists should read Luther, the Lutherans Calvin. Allow the fullness of the Body of Christ to nourish and teach you.

In our efforts to resist those who would erode the very foundations of our faith by asserting “God is doing a new thing,” we run the risk of not receiving any of the new things that God actually is doing. The Lord wants us to hold fast to the Apostolic Faith, but also to be receptive to his still small voice so that we do not grow brittle and rigid.

Being open to God’s daily provision is easier if we give up on hoarding from the stores of yesterday’s blessings. Good as it is, manna has a very short shelf life. God will give us everything we need to complete the journey each step of the way.

Almighty God, our heavenly Father, your mercies are new every morning, and though we have in no way deserved your goodness, you still abundantly provide for all our wants of body and soul. Give us, we pray, your Holy Spirit that we may heartily acknowledge your merciful goodness towards us, give thanks for all your benefits, and serve you in willing obedience, through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever, Amen.

(Collect for the Fourth Sunday in Lent, The Lutheran Book of Worship (1982) –The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod)

The Rev. Bob Hackendorf, a native of Baltimore, is a Priest in the Anglican Mission in America (AMiA) and is Rector of St. Andrew’s in the Valley (Syracuse, NY).

1 posted on 03/04/2006 7:37:19 AM PST by sionnsar
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2 posted on 03/04/2006 7:37:57 AM PST by sionnsar (†† | Libs: Celebrate MY diversity! | Iran Azadi 2006)
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