A beautiful finish before Lent…and various other things…

CanucksI have not mentioned at all on this blog my love for the game of Hockey. I’ve kept the focus on Christian Missional Spirituality for the most part. But tonight is different. You see, I am a Vancouver Canucks fan. Our Canucks have just beat the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim 3-2 in OT to give them a record of 18 wins, 3 losses and 3 OT losses over the last 24 games. It was a nice finish to a game that I have decided to put my love on hold for. As part of a number of things I will be sacrificing during Lent, I will refrain from watching my favorite team. It is actually all TV that I will be refraining from.

For the hardcore fans…the stat sheet.

On to Lent…

This is the conclusion of what many call Fat Tuesday, or in French, Mardi Gras. Andrew Jones (TSK) gives us the skinny on Fat Tuesday for those interested in learning a bit more about this indulgent day that marks the eve of lent.

Bread 1We had our bread night tonight and a mission group dinner together. The staple was Spaghetti, lots of it, and fresh garlic bread…a meal that I could eat everyday….but not over the next 40, of coarse. After we ate together, we bagged bins of bread and went out into the community to deliver it to our neighbours.

Over the next 40 days I will be intentional about avoiding the distractions and attachments that plague my life in an attempt to draw closer to God. It’s kind of like a desert experience I am expecting… and a much needed one at that. It will be a time for me to reflect, trust and become aware of my condition and need for God. One thing I am aware of is this: we live in the midst of such abundance and comfort. To keep things in perspective, I believe we need to suffer a bit. Suffer in the sense of refraining from the compulsions and things that we can constantly comfort and fill ourselves with. There is a benefit to our spiritual journeys to wait through the temptations for the touch of the Lord. It is the place where growth happens. I have been there before, but sadly not often enough. It is the desert.

Part of me is yearning for such a time of surrender and sacrifice…and another part of me fears it. I can relate to Kester Brewin‘s two part confession on failure of an emerging leader. See Part 1 and Part 2. I anticipate being challenged to the core of my being; but am encouraged and believe God will be gracious and give me strength to follow through on my commitments. This encouragement comes on the heals of finishing Susaku Endo’s book Silence. Silence is about the missionary attempts by the Jesuits to bring the Gospel to Japan in the 1600’s. The persecution is intense and the torture is horrifying. It makes my meager offering seem simple; hence the encouragement that I can endure.

I’d like to wish each of you a refining time this Lenten season and ask our God on your behalf to draw you each near to him as He increases in your life.

I never thought it possible to write about an ice hockey team and the desert in the same post…

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