One overlooked portion of the Lenten walk is the idea of alms giving as a practice.
Those of us in the church know the practice of tithing but how many of us practice alms giving?
The three main practices in the Lenten walk are: prayer, fasting and alms giving…which is to say, making yet another sacrifice.
We spend more time in prayer than usual, giving up time, giving up the illusion of our own control. This is a sacrifice that leads to Christ.
We spend more time in fasting…giving up things we use to medicate pain, giving up things we take pleasure in. This is a sacrifice that leads to Christ.
We spend more time in giving to the poor. We choose this with intention and we make it a regular, weekly if not daily practice, over and above what we give back to the church or to our “normal” charitable contributions. We give up money, we give up some comfort, some time, some possessions.
All of these sacrifices are meant not to DEPRIVE us or PUNISH us, but rather to make room for the arrival of the resurrection of Christ, within us, among us. Easter or Pascha is not merely a remembrance or a celebration. It’s less a birthday and more a day of birth. Each year, a new day of birth. We all become new again on this day…and so, it makes sense that’d we would spend time in preparation…so that we can be ready to experience the wonder that day will bring…so that celebration becomes REAL for us, and true.
This week our assignment is to find ways to give to someone in need. Heaven knows there is NO SHORTAGE of need. The world is in great need…the community you live in is in great need…the people closest to you are in great need. Find a way to give this week…and next….make it a practice, a daily practice, a bodily spiritual practice.