From the Clintonville Christian Church newsletter dated March 15, 2006:
This Lenten Season is off to a meaningful start for our church and I’m thankful to be part of it!
By the time this is printed, we surveyed the wilderness of our lives and started clearing space in that wilderness to better communicate with God and sense God’s presence among us. We did this together in Sunday morning worship, in our Sunday afternoon group reflection times, and through our individual exercises and activities.
Honestly surveying your life is not easy. Just as there were for Jesus in the wilderness (Mark 1:12-13), we have temptations in the wilderness of our lives. We have wild beasts (those parts of our life we are unable to control). Thank God, we also have angels (messengers from God). Sometimes it’s hard to distinguish one from the other – as hard as distinguishing one plant in the wilderness from another.
How do we honestly survey our lives? The best way I know is to sit without external distractions, even for as little as ten to fifteen minutes, and quietly allow your life to come into your mind. Then we begin to discover those temptations, those wild beasts, those angels that make up our lives.
Unfortunately, choosing which part of our lives to clear and the way to clear it is not any easier. We know that we can’t clear the whole wilderness at once; we must decide on a limited part and put our focus there. We also know that we can trust God to shine though the little space now, expanding it into bigger space later.
In what ways did you decide to address the area of your life? Did you select daily prayer; time for daily walks or exercise; keeping a daily journal of God’s movement in your life; someone new with whom you will communicate regularly? Are you going to work on developing a new habit or eliminating one? Did you select something else?
This is your practice, so you have to decide what you will do. It has to fit you. Just make sure it is something you can and will do regularly.
Just as this time of clearing space for God started strong, so the remaining weeks hold great promise. Together on our journey with Jesus from Galilee to Jerusalem we will discover when our best times for clearing space are. We will experience how we notice and appreciate the new growth in our lives that results from clearing space. We will consider how we handle any setbacks to our space clearing. And who knows what else God may have in store for us.
If it is just not possible for you to be part of the journey by attending Sunday morning worship or the group reflection times, I hope you will let me know other ways to include you. Some of our homebound members, for instance, have asked for cassette copies of our Sunday morning worship services. If those would be useful for you, please call the church office and let us know. If there are other ways I or others can include you on the journey, please let me know. I would like for you to be part of the journey in any and every way possible.
See you at the place where we journey together – Nathan