Gabriel's Horn, Pastor George Weaver, March, 2016

posted Feb 26, 2016, 5:38 PM by Lois Kerchner   [ updated Feb 26, 2016, 5:38 PM ]

Five Foci For Lent

 I think of Lent as an excellent time for everyone (particularly Christians) to engage in self-examination and improvement. The following are five suggestions or emphases (Five F’s if you please) that one might consider as something to do rather than give up throughout the 40 days of the Lenten Season.

 FEED yourself well; be selective in what you choose to nourish your body, mind and spirit. Nurture a healthy body with calcium rich foods such as milk, highly colorful vegetables and fruits (eat your carrots and have an apple a day to “keep the doctor away"), plenty of water and exercise. Feed your mind with ideas, your soul with God and that which is beyond you, and enrich your life by interaction with people. According to the Stanford Center on Longevity, long-term health improves with close social relationships. Research shows clearly that strong social ties are linked to better health — and not just because this provides for someone to help you out if you need it. Strong relationships are also linked to a better outlook and reduced stress — two things that studies show to have a distinct biological impact on how someone ages.

 FAST from negative thinking about yourself and others. Adopt instead an “attitude of gratitude” for the abundant blessings of life from the hand of Almighty God. Remember there are any number of places in which the Scriptures tell us that our God is “merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.”

 FOCUS on all the little ways you can put more love into the world — and then put some effort into doing them. Imagine how much happier the world will be just because of YOU.

 FUN. Don't hesitate to make fun of yourself and your frailties. Look for some humorous incidents and short, funny stories to share. Search for the hilarious in the oddities and even the tragedies of life. Enjoy helping others to laugh along with you. Start a ministry of smiling. Enumerate, relish and celebrate the little joys of everyday life: a beautiful sunrise, the smell of fresh air after a spring rainfall, the singing of songbirds, a good night's sleep, a hearty meal, a jolly laugh, a jovial grin, a new friendship, etc.

FIND your unique purpose for the second half of life. What do you want to leave this world that would not have existed if you had not been given the gift of a long life? What legacy do you have to offer because you were privileged to be here a long time? My thoughts for the above have been guided through an article written by Laura L. Carstensen in the Feb. 22/29, 2016 issue of TIME Magazine, beginning on page 60, which is entitled “The New Age of Aging.” Also, I have adapted some material from a book by Jane Marie Thibault with the title 10 Gospel Promises For Later Life found in our library at Leola UMC, particularly the chapter: “It's Never Too Late to Grow,” beginning on page 97.

 You might consider taking a look at these sources yourself, or at the very least I would recommend heartily that for this Lent and beyond you concentrate on these 5 strategic foci, namely FEED, FAST, FOCUS, FUN and FIND as useful ways for spiritual growth and self-examination.

George Weaver, Pastor of Maturing Ministries