The Best Exercise for Lent
by David Dahl
Turn to me and be gracious to me, as is your custom (habit) toward those who love your name. (Psalms 119:132)
The best way to start your day is with a good cup of coffee — at least that is what the Folger’s Company would want us to believe. For some, this may be true. Smelling the aroma of hot water passing through ground coffee beans may be the perfect way to gently raise tired eyelids from sleep.
This is part of a routine. We all have our methods of taking ourselves from sleep to waking to being on track for taking care of the affairs of the day. I would venture to guess that, over the years, your routine has developed with a cadence that has become a part of you. The hair is combed, the teeth are brushed, and you start putting on your shirt or your coat by inserting the same arm as you did yesterday and the day before that. It’s rhythm, routine, and it’s good.
And if I were to use church language, I would say that you had a liturgy in your life, patterns and customs that keep you going from day to day. It gives a steadiness to life. Even when you’re met with overwhelming joy or tragic sorrow, something as simple as brushing your teeth can bring a sense of comfort. When times come when we don’t know what to do, routine can be a great anchor. Habit, routine, liturgy.
The Lutheran tradition is a liturgical tradition. When we gather for worship, you find a routine, a regular rhythm to what goes on. We come before God together admitting the truth, confessing our sins and our need for God’s forgiveness. We hear the precious words of Scripture, we experience the truth of Jesus’ death and resurrection in the Lord’s Supper. We sing hymns and we pray prayers — all of us, young and old, together gathered in one place before our Lord. The hope is that we would go about the rhythms of the rest of our week with a sure confidence that, even if we stumble or are pressed down by an unforeseen challenge, God lifts us up, because God is with us, as is God’s habit.
During this Lenten season, we are going to exercise the habit of gathering together. On Wednesday nights, we will enjoy fellowship with a meal and then continue into worship. During this Lenten season, we’re going to experience “Our Stories in God’s Story.” We will hear how God has led those among us, as is God’s habit. I have no doubt that Wednesday nights will be a great time of encouragement for all of us.
If your habits have fallen away from church attendance, now is the time to begin afresh. God has made it a habit to be gracious to you. Make it a habit to understand His grace more fully. Join us!
And as always, keep and live the faith.
-Pastor Dave Dahl
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