Lent Begins with Stone Soup (and Isaiah 58)
You may recall the spark of gathering around the table, creating community, welcoming in the stranger & turning the soup pots of our heart into Stone Soup. I haven't forgotten about it. Although, it might appear so. I'm the gal who has an idea, invites and waits. Waiting to see when the right time is. What goes against the grain, even if the title did say "A Year of Stone Soup," why not begin end of February, right before Lenten season.
Lent begins tomorrow. So, I guess I'm kind of throwing this on you, and for those of you who are more structured & planning type--will you give me some grace?
Here is how I would describe Stone Soup:
And as the soup is transformed, we see the suspicious peasants hearts are transformed. What began as hearts of possession turned to hospitable souls, where the table was being redeemed.
Lenten season is wrought with the lowly Jesus as we reflect on his suffering leading to the cross. Often, we associate it with what one thing we should give up for forty days as an outward symbol of the 40 days Jesus was tempted in the desert. Essentially, how do we know the suffering of the Resurrected & Risen Lord more fully?
What past years have looked like:
College, I've prayed for those who have deeply wounded me. Prayed blessings over them instead of curses.
Two years ago, our family ate nothing but rice & beans for dinner as a symbol to embrace a more focused & simple life; while, standing with those who have little in this world as well.
Last year, I gave up Facebook for Lent, in order to wash away distractions and spend more thoughtful time towards Jesus, my family & others.
What about this year?
Isaiah 58 comes to mind. What if we spent more time doing this,
Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?
Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe them,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
1. Fasting with Intentionality & Purpose
If you find yourself giving up chocolate, simply because it has a stronghold on you (like around the 2 pm hour); but, you might find yourself complaining about it. Why not fast from something you enjoy, that also costs you money, in order to save that money & give it to a designated cause at the end of your forty days. And who knows, maybe it will last longer?
2. Fasting that goes against your Core
Maybe fasting from coffee or desserts is actually easier than learning to love the person within your sphere that you wished was not. Purpose these next forty days to pray intentionally for that person. Pray prayers of blessings and not curses. Ask Jesus to give his heart to you for them. We are not called to like everyone, but we are called to love everyone, because he first loved us. After you have prayed for this person, invite them out for coffee, or your home. If they live too far, write them a note of how you value them.
3. Fasting to cultivate a heart for...
Unplug from social media, technology to free up your mind, your heart, & your body for your family, for yourself, and for Jesus to quiet you from loneliness to solitude. Removing the distractions allows those of us with families to love the least of these. Too often, we think we have to travel far & wide, in order to clothe, feed, & shelter the lost & least. What I forget is that I have two little people who depend on me daily for these essential acts of love (hospitable acts).
Some other Lent Resources:
The Reluctant Sojourner: Contemplating the Cross
Passionate Homemaking: Intentionally Celebrating Lent & Easter with Your Family
Rachel Held Evans: 40 Ideas for Lent
I'm interested to hear from you...If you practice Lent, what practices have you developed over the years? What has proven helpful to you?