Five years ago the Diocese of Knoxville was happy to celebrate the ordination of our third bishop. Today we give thanks for his ministry and wish him good health along with the inspiration of the Holy Spirit as we continue to build the kingdom in East Tennessee.
One of the things I have had to adjust to since moving out of a parish setting and into campus ministry is the fact that we have built in breaks. Of course for me this doesn’t mean everything comes to a complete stop. There are still things that continue to need my attention. There is, however, more of a stillness that can be hard to find the rest of the school year.
In a time when the pace of life seems to only be getting faster, it is critical to set aside time to simply be at rest. Most of us don’t have jobs with built in breaks, but we do have the ability to make sure we take one from time to time. Lent is a good reminder to put a few minutes aside each day to just be still.
Each year during Lent, I hope for an epic fail. Don’t get me wrong, I also hope each year to try my best to be the best Christian I can be. Lent is a gift that allows us to focus on being more attentive to prayer, to let go of our own self centeredness through fasting and abstinence, and to finding ways to serve those who are the least among us. But above all else during Lent I pray that I might fail, so that God will succeed. Recently a friend shared with me that for most of his life when something good happened, he would immediately take the credit. When something bad occurred, he would blame that on God. Like my friend, my ego too often gets in the way of living a successful Christian life. It is easy to forget that it is only through the power of God that any of my successes are possible.
Ironically, it is in times of failure that I can most recognize my need for God’s presence in my life. This is why I value Lent so much. Lent presents me with the opportunity to make the commitment to become a better person. Each Lent I am challenged to look at my life and find the areas that need the most work. Lent gives me a reason to pick one or two of those areas that need growth and commit to changing them from the better. It also allows me to fail miserably in my attempts. Those failures are a helpful reminder that ultimately my best bet is to rely on God’s power rather than my own.
If you find yourself struggling with Lent, if you feel you are failing in your attempts to grow during this season, try turning your failures over to God. He wants to succeed where you have failed. If you allow him to, he will.