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  • Rick Holdener

Prayer, Connection, & Discomfort

I learned growing up that Lent was synonymous with sacrifice and discipline, a personal 40 days in the desert. Giving up treats or entertainment matured into walking the stations of the cross, fasting, solitary prayer and contemplative walks in a labyrinth. Certainly, these can all be effective tools to restore God to the rightful place as number one in our hearts and minds.

But something is missing if we approach Lent ascetically, directing our focus only inward. Observing the divisions that surround us, I have asked myself, “Did Jesus suffer our betrayal and the march to crucifixion so that I could commemorate it with a decidedly lesser version of his long night in the Garden of Gethsemane?” Have you ever wondered something similar about your Lenten practices?

Jesus spent his last days building and reinforcing connections, in addition to praying alone. I believe he was modeling for us the way to live the meaning of his ultimate sacrifice on the cross. This Lent, I am particularly thinking about the message we may take from Jesus’s washing the feet of the disciples (John 13:1-17). If Jesus is willing to wash our feet, callouses and all, is there any of our brothers and sisters whose feet we should not be willing to wash?

This Lent, I will spend time in solitary prayer, getting right with God. I will also commit to extending beyond myself and my comfort zone to serve those whose feet have gone unwashed for too long.


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