Good News Blog

Holy Habits, Lenten Rituals, and God's Peace

Posted by Father Ken Parks on

“You shall be a Holy people as I the Lord your God am Holy.”

Leviticus 19:1

        Going to church in my family was a “Holy Habit.”  The ritual began on Saturday night when my mother laid out my church clothes and my father polished my shoes, until I was old enough to do it myself, and I took a bath.  At bed time my parents talked to me about going to church the next morning and about what I was going to pray.  I knew I was going to God’s house to talk to God, to give a dime from my allowance to God, and after church go to Sunday School to learn about God, before we got back in our Buick and went home.

        During Lent my parents talked to me about giving another dime a week.  They “helped” me decide that I would not get to eat “penny,” candy during Lent.  I put that dime in my mite box and gave all my Lenten dimes to God on Easter morning.

        I knew the “why” of our family’s Holy Habit, the “what,” and all the “expectations” including sacrificial giving.  As I grew older I also learned about serving God as a member of the junior choir, as an acolyte, as a cast member in all the pageants, and as a camper at Camp Mitchell.  I understood the purpose of what still remains a portion of my Holy Habit.

        What I didn’t know then is that another purpose of Lent is to be a season of intentional reconciliation which also must be a Holy Habit of all of God’s holy people.  Jesus commanded us to be reconciled to ourselves and to all our neighbors.  Jesus said to be “perfect.”  We are to be whole and an instrument of God’s peace – God’s shalom.

        This takes a lot of energy, time, and a commitment to be an active member of God’s household, the church.  Lent calls us to a time of confession of all our sins including any transgressions or hard feelings towards members of our sacred community, St. Theodore’s.  Lent calls us to individually help heal any brokenness in our community in order that with one voice we can loudly proclaim the tomb of darkness is empty, and the light of the resurrection shines in every heart and in every soul.

        We will learn more about this important habit during this year’s Lenten Study (details in this Messenger). We will learn new ways of awakening and seeing the new normal and the self sacrifices we are all called to make in order that we all may be one voice, one body working in unity as disciples of Jesus Christ.

        May all of us have a Holy Lent as we are all reconciled to God and to all our neighbors.