A Shift in Focus

Dean Phelps, Transitional Regional Minister

Dean Phelps, Transitional Regional Minister
Dean Phelps

I describe myself as an occasional songwriter. Woodworking provides an analogy. Musically, I don’t often design and produce new pieces of furniture. I’m more at home taking an existing piece and giving it new life.

Ash Wednesday ushers in another Lent. We begin again the journey to the upper room, to the cross, and to resurrection.

An article I read recently compared Lent to some diagnostic medical procedures. Sometimes, detection and diagnosis require going deep. These procedures are invasive and never pleasant. Nevertheless, only by those internal examinations can some issues be detected, and only after detection and diagnosis can you start the process of resolution.

The work of Lent requires that same kind of internal assessment. It requires a shift of focus such that we are looking into ourselves rather than looking at others. This kind of deep, intentional introspection is rarely comfortable.

In times of silence, where does my mind go? Where does my money go? Where does my time go? What do I desire? How do these reflect what is really important to me? These and similar questions reveal ways that idols like power, approval, or comfort may have become more important to us than God.

Nevertheless, detection is the first step to resolution. In the quiet, fasting, and prayer of Lent, we may also sense anew the depth of God’s love for us. We may see ourselves again as God sees us. We may gain the perspective on our work that God wants us to have. Just as physical healing requires time and intentional steps, so too does the healing of our souls.

Lent gives us the opportunity to focus inward on the journey to Easter. By using the time to reflect on ourselves, may we emerge healed, blessed, and renewed to serve others.

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