What is Lent and Why Practice it?
Lent can be a spring cleaning for body, mind, and spirit that lays the foundation for personal transformation. Unity was founded in the spiritual teachings and Christ Jesus and therefore recognizes Lent, and today marks the beginning of Lent 2017. Lent is an old word meaning lengthening of days and refers to the 40 days, and 6 Sundays,of soul searching and purification leading up to Easter. The number four symbolizes foundation. Zero is a multiplier or emphasis. I like to think of it as an exclamation mark. Metaphysically forty means as long as it takes to prepare or build foundation. Lent was intended to reflect upon the journey Jesus made into the desert where he fasted for 40 days. During this time he overcame temptation and was comforted by angels. He emerged prepared to begin his ministry. Metaphsically, this journey symbolizes the journey we take to awaken spiritually.
Like everything, Lent has the meaning we give it: nothing more, nothing less and nothing else. Unity celebrates Lent as a time of intensified spiritual practice with the idea of cleansing body, mind and spirit to become more receptive to the Christ within, and prepare us for whatever our personal spring, or new growth phase brings. For some, this may mean a gentle spring cleaning of heart and mind, and for others it may mean following Jesus into the desert on a soul searching quest for the big “what’s next in my life”, and for others it may mean learning to live in the question. So today is about making that decision consciously and setting our personal intentions for our personal Lenten journey. I encourage you to open your heart and mind to possibilities. As we launch lent, let’s do so with the intention to unleash our divine potential by ending negative thinking and letting love empower next transformation.
Possible spiritual practices for Lent
1) Free download of Unity’s 2017 Daily Lenten Journey "Be Ye Transformed" on-line at unity.org
2) Spring clean intentionally: This can be done intensively or gently. A gentle example would be to clean one thing ( a window, a drawer, a box, a closet, a room, a shed...what does not matter, consistent with intention is the point) each day of lent with an affirmation such as "Divine Order is expressed in my life now", "I wipe away smears of criticism, and dust complacency from all I value", " I polish mirrors and windows for clear vision to better see myself & others" "I release what no longer serves my highest good and make space for new and wonderful things
3) Fast: While fasting can be some variation of going without food, you could also choose fast from tv, or media violence, or limiting thought patterns, or negative speech patterns, or unhealthy food choices