It’s that ashy time of year again: Lent. All of the conversations about what people are giving up or adding to their lives culminate on this day. (Please stop using the “I gave Lent up for Lent” joke. It’s played out.) Rethink Church is doing another Lent experiment. Here’s how they describe it.
“Every Sunday, we’ll post a theme that we’re asking you to sit with that week. As you think about the questions and images revealed in that theme, share them with us on social media using the # for that week. Perhaps you’ll share a photo of how that topic speaks to you. Whatever it is, we hope these 40 days of Lent will be a time to open your eyes and heart to what’s already at work around you.”
Two weeks ago, our student ministry hosted a simulcast of The Justice Conference. It was a great conference that helped spark our hearts to seek Kingdom of God-style justice. All of the speakers had powerful things to say. It was awesome to be in conversation with our teenagers about it, to boot, and I’ve been thinking about the conference talks ever since.
This brings me to Rethink Church’s experiment. The question for today is, “What are the basic needs in your community? How might you participate in meeting those needs?” I live in suburbia. There are needs, but they might not look as obvious as what you see in the inner city or the Ukraine. They are not typically as cruel and bleak as human trafficking–which does happen in our metro area. (I just don’t see it every day.) The needs in suburbia usually go under the radar because we’re good at acting like things are perfectly okay.
Whether you’re knee deep in meeting desperate needs in “hopeless” situations or reaching out to your suburban neighbors, we all have the same basic needs: food, water, clothes, shelter, love.
Connecting with God is a basic need, too. We don’t really think of it this way. I believe this is because suburbanite needs like food, shelter, and clothing are taken care of for us. We don’t know how to ask for our daily bread because our pantries are stocked for a month’s worth of meals. Yet Jesus, the Bread of Life, has us ask God to give us our daily bread. It’s a spiritual need we have as much as it is a physical one.
Be still and know that God is God. Today, receive ashes at your local church. Reconnect with Jesus. Only after doing that, will you be able to meet the basic needs of others. You’ll have a clearer focus. You have a better chance of serving without impure motives.
When you put Jesus in front of you, you’ll see better than ever before.