Lenten Devotion 2
Yesterday, a group from the LUCC congregation joined people from many
different faith communities in the St. Petersburg area at the Epiphany of
Our Lord Ukrainian Catholic Church in St. Petersburg to express solidarity
with Ukraine and to pray for peace.
During this vigil, a “Collective Statement of Unity for Peace” that was
signed by the 15 clergy who were present was read aloud. One of the
commitments in the statement was that, “Unlike the rising and setting of the sun, peace will not happen on its own. We must work for peace and live in
peace as an intentional expression of the Divine within us.” There is much
to the notion that “peace will not happen on its own.”
In many ways, it is easy to think that our spiritual life will take care of itself.
Be a decent person. Work hard. Be nice to others. Pay your bills. Don’t
do anything really bad – like cheat on your spouse, embezzle from your
company, drink and drive, etc. and your spirit will be fine. If you do
something like pray before meals or at bed time, or go to church once in a
while, then you are spiritually buff!
But the statement from the peace vigil and this Lenten season remind us of
our need to attend to the spirit. And when we take this Lenten season to
engage, to pray, to reflect, to give something up, we will find that our spirits
become stronger and healthier. And that means that other things in our
lives will have more meaning, be more fulfilling, and bring more joy. When
we tend the spirit it makes the rest of our lives better.
It’s like peace. Peace doesn’t just mean that we are not in the middle of a
fight, a war, or hostilities of some kind. Peace means that we are doing
well, that life is good, that we are thriving. And it takes intentional work.
So this Lenten season as we explore the wildness of mercy, we are tending
to our souls, we are seeking to thrive and flourish. This will not just happen
on its own. We must be intentional about cultivating the life of the spirit.
For those who were able to attend the demonstration in solidarity with
Ukraine, that was tending the spirit. It was uplifting to all who were there.
How beautiful to watch the faces of those of Ukrainian heritage as the community prayed for peace. May we be intentional about caring for the
spirit this season of Lent and always.
Prayer: As this Lenten season begins, think about how you have been
tending to your spirit. Is your spirit thriving? Do you have some sense of
what your spirit needs? As a plant needs water, sun, and soil, may we be
attentive to our spirits this season and provide the care and nurture that is