Rethink Church

Diving deeper with Lent spiritual practices: Compass 79

Lent is a time of intentional focus
Lent is a time of intentional focus

This Compass episode explores how Lent leads us into a deeper spiritual connection. Pierce Drake and Ryan Dunn discuss the meaning of Lent and how this special season in the Christian year moves us to seek a spiritual-centeredness through discipline and practice.

 

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TRANSCRIPT:

Ryan Dunn:

This is the compass podcast where we disrupt the every day with divine moments. Happy Lent. That's the kinda statement that might strike some of you strangely, maybe due to the fact that you're unfamiliar with the season of Lent, or maybe because you know something about Lent and you know, it's not generally of as a happy time. My name is Ryan Dunn. I'm one of the hosts of the compass podcast. I've had a number of conversations lately where people have mentioned that Lent is actually their favorite time on the Christian calendar, as in they enjoy it more than Christmas time or, or ordinary time, which sounds kind of blah, but it, it might still be more pleasant than Lent. What is it about Lent that gets people going well, I've got a hunch that has quite a bit to do with the sense of extremity of Lent.

Ryan Dunn:

It's a tough season. It's a season of fasting and preparation. And if you're wondering why that is, then we're gonna to provide some answers a couple of years ago, pears and I recorded an episode all about LENT. It remains one of our most downloaded episodes. Again, that surprises me, but people are curious and craving more LENT, I guess. So in this episode of compass, we're going to re-present that episode and addendum after pears. And I talk about some of the traditions of LENT and what this season means. I'm gonna offer up some popular LENT practices in hopes that we can help you adopt LENT as one of your favorite Christian seasons too. So let's harken back to 2020 and get the low down on LENT from a Lentle younger versions of Ryan and Pierce.

Ryan Dunn:

Um strange things, our foot Pierce people walking around with smudges on their foreheads. Mm. Giving up chocolate only eating fish on Fridays, trying to think of whatever, like weird traditions we hold to during the season of Lent

Pierce Drake:

Nobody's posting on Instagram.

Ryan Dunn:

That's our yeah. Fasting from Instagram. What's the weirdest thing you've ever done for Lent?

Pierce Drake:

That's a good question.

Ryan Dunn:

The most involved thing I ever did. I don't know if it's that weird, but I stopped eating food for fun. If that makes sense. I did it just one year, but got it. Like food was for nourishment only, only, I suppose, that wasn't like a form of fast, right? Without it being like hardcore fasting, like

Pierce Drake:

Right. There was no Pringles. There was no chips. There is no

Ryan Dunn:

That's right. Yeah. You know, the

Pierce Drake:

Carrots and hummus,

Ryan Dunn:

The cupcakes that were sitting in the break room, like had to be avoided. I mean, it was just like, I mean, I could eat a fine meal, you know, if I had like a fried chicken for lunch, if that's what was for lunch, I ate it. But

Pierce Drake:

You know, I'm trying to think of the weird, I know the most, like I remember, I remember right when this is, this is not gonna be weird, but I remember right when I came back to faith, I came back to faith right before Easter. So it was like had this experience with Jesus or whatever in my room in college. And it was around January, February timeframe. And Soly was right after that. Mm God, I'm gonna give up something. What am I gonna give up? And I gave up watching porn.

Ryan Dunn:

Okay.

Pierce Drake:

That was my thing. And I was like, I'm really doing this for Jesus. You know, out of that came up. I realized I was addicted to, mm. Now I no longer watch that. But but it was funny. I remember just like being that first day L and telling people, you know, like my friends would like, yeah, what are you giving up for land? I was like, not watching porn. And they were like, I don't know. Okay. Right. You know?

Ryan Dunn:

Yeah.

Pierce Drake:

I usually a lot of times I'll give up social media. Yeah. small things like that. I don't know. I, we are a few we're what two weeks out right now is the point of recording this. Yeah. From Lentle

Ryan Dunn:

Last

Pierce Drake:

Lentle, yeah. Less a year and a half or a week and a half year and a half week and a half. And actually I'm taking off we're Friday, the week and a half before. And so I'm actually taking off of work next Monday through the Tuesday. And I come back to work on Ash Wednesday. That's

Ryan Dunn:

Okay. Right. So you're gonna live it up, you know, they got Shrove Tuesday or that's right. Tuesday, Tuesday. I really blow it out before you got,

Pierce Drake:

I

Ryan Dunn:

Don't know about that and the wilderness, so to

Pierce Drake:

Speak. Yeah. But yeah, I will, that I will take that time to realize and figure out what I'm giving up. The thing that I'd love to hear your perspective on is for those of you that are like, what is Lent? Why do we do it and that kind of stuff.

Ryan Dunn:

Yeah. Let me introduce that. This episode is about Lent. And you know, what it is, right. Why Christians are so crazy or not crazy for it. Right. And and really what we think Lent has as a purpose in, in our lives and our faith journey.

Pierce Drake:

Right. So LENT kind of represents it is the 40 days before Easter minus the Sundays, right?

Ryan Dunn:

Yes.

Pierce Drake:

So that, so it's actually like probably 46, 47, something like that. It is. Yeah. And so 40 just represents in the Bible, it's a number you see throughout the scriptures and it really represents, sometimes it can maybe represent a literally 40 days. Right. Yeah. But more so it represents just a long time. Yeah. You know,

Ryan Dunn:

It's like a colloquialism for saying, you know, a really long time.

Pierce Drake:

Right. So there's, there's, Moses goes up on the mountain, Mount Sinai with, with Jesus and with God. And he's up there for 40 days and 40 nights, right.

Ryan Dunn:

It rained with Noah for 40 days,

Pierce Drake:

40 nights. Right. We were studying this a few weeks ago in church and my wife leaned over and she goes, pregnancy is 40 weeks. Wow. She goes, it's a long time.

Ryan Dunn:

She's onto something there. I wonder if that's, you know, where some of that,

Pierce Drake:

No idea, no idea. And quote that. Yeah, exactly. And then Jesus, most famously after he's baptized by John is led into the wilderness by the spirit, by himself El and he's out there for 40 days and 40 nights. And when he comes back, he enters into his local church, his local synagogue, he opens the, that they give to him and he says, the Lord is upon me preach the good news. And it kind of starts his public ministry after that, which ends publicly at the cross and the resurrection. And so for us as Christians, we take these 40 days leading up to Easter where we recognize the, the resurrection of Jesus and go, Hey, we're gonna sacrifice something. We're gonna give up something and not just to give it up. Yeah. And that's the thing, we're not giving up this, just to give it up. This isn't a heaLenth benefit. It could be. Yeah. Could, I mean, all the things could be beneficial. But it is what am I giving up so that I experienced Jesus a Lentle more fuller. I see him more clearly. Somebody said, prayer connects us to God fasting, disconnects us from the world. And so that's what L is. It's a season of fasting to some level, to some degree in a way that will connect you more fully with, with the person of Jesus.

Ryan Dunn:

I think when Jesus went out in the wilderness for those yeah. 40 days, like he wasn't going out there to punish himself per se. No. I mean, he was going out there to kind of shut other things away. Right. And to focus on really, this was the time right before he begins his public ministry. And so he goes out there to focus on right. God's message for him in his life. Lent is meant to be this, this time of recalling back to that for us personally. And we probably need that on a yearly basis. So it's this chance to like, to cut out some of the distractions. Right. And I think that's really what we're to focus in on let, and then how do we focus in specifically on God's presence right within us.

Pierce Drake:

And I think what's great about that is you see this practice actually happening a lot with Jesus throughout his actual public ministry. It's just not this length of time. A lot of times you'll see him do something. And then it'll say like, he goes away to pray. He goes away to shut everything off. He, he goes away early in the morning or late at night. And then I think it's also treat at the end of his time in the wilderness is where he's tempted. You know, when he's most hungry, cuz he's been fasting. Yeah. He's most thirsty. He's most of those things and, and there's an encounter with him and he's tempted by the enemy. And so I think, you know, he gives us very great principles in those moments of, Hey, even in these moments of great struggle, even in these moments of real human need of food and water.

Pierce Drake:

And obviously he had some degree of that. Yeah. But he's, he's, you know, asked to give signs, he's asked to turn and rocks into bread. He's, he's shown the power of the world. And in that temptation, what you see out of that is he's been filling himself up with God's love with God's character. And so I think that's a thing for us to go, Hey, what are we not just taking away from, but what are we filling ourselves with in this time? Right. So I'm gonna di us engage. I'm gonna fast from this insert blank. And then I'm gonna fill myself with this. And that feeling is important. It's great to remove stuff from our life, but if we're not filling stuff back in place of it, we're missing out of half of the blessing of, of what fasting is.

Ryan Dunn:

So have you had an experience in your life, whether it be through LENT or some other time where that fasting has led to something profound for you?

Pierce Drake:

I think there was a time where I was questioning it wasn't during the LENT fast.

Ryan Dunn:

Okay.

Pierce Drake:

I was serving a two churches in London, England, and I got told I wasn't equipped from ministry. Okay. And it was because I didn't speak in tongues and, and that's a under the large umbrella of the Christian, right? Yeah. Some take it really seriously. Some think it's gone, you know? Yeah. It's not a centralized thing, but some, for some people it is. So I didn't speak in tongues and, and that was a problem for them. I remember being in this is right before, like iMessage came out. Okay. So you, like, you had to be on wifi to like text, you know, people and stuff like that. For across the country and everything. Oh, okay. Gotcha. Right.

Ryan Dunn:

Yeah. Internationally you

Pierce Drake:

Internationally. Yeah. Thank you. Right. Okay. And I remember coming home, being so discouraged after that conversation feeling called to be a pastor being told I was not equipped being told, I may need just to go home and coming home to my Lentle house in London and going, I'm gonna, I'm not, I'm gonna disengage in everything.

Ryan Dunn:

Okay.

Pierce Drake:

And for three weeks I had a conversation with my dad right before,

Ryan Dunn:

Was your hope in disengaging that spirit might manifest itself in you and speaking in tongues it,

Pierce Drake:

Oh, oh no. Okay. no, that wasn't the, that wasn't the hope there. The hope was to get clarity. Okay. And I sent an email to my girlfriend now wife and said, Hey, I'm taking a few weeks off. I'm not gonna be, unless you won't hear from me for a few weeks and had a conversation with my dad, my dad makes a comment to me. It's something to think out and where he said, Hey, if there's anything else, you can do, go do it. Right. So if, you know, if you can go sell shoes, right. Go sell shoes. And I love shoes, go sell shoes, you know, and, and love God and love people. That's our call. And maybe it's in a different way. He said, but if you can't do anything else, then we pressed through this I, the next two and a half, three weeks, something like that.

Pierce Drake:

And I just disengaged from all people I took off from work. I didn't go to church at the church. I was serving. I had no contact with any family or relatives back home. I turned off the internet at my house. I didn't have TV. And I really spent, I didn't change my eating habits. I, but I spent the next, however long. It was two and a half, three weeks really just in God's word and in God's creation. So a lot of hikes, a lot of obviously all this was time by myself and I really just sought it after God for his, for is this calling what you have for me? It's what I think my calling is, is that my calling or can I do something else out of, of that timeframe came from me not an audible voice, but a presence and a sense, and a knowing like in my gut, knowing that this is what God was calling me to, to some degree, to, to do full-time ministry, to be a pastor. I was able to step back into the hardships of what was going on, knowing I had some stuff to figure out stuff to work through, but I had a, had a calling that I knew I couldn't get rid of.

Ryan Dunn:

Do you ask your students to participate in lint in any way?

Pierce Drake:

Yeah, we're actually getting ready to unroll a plan for them. We've been walking through, I've worked with middle school through college students. We've been working through reading scripture, leading up to Lent, and we're gonna, one of the things we're gonna do is that we're gonna expand it and Lent. So one of the ways that we do that is right now every morning on social media, there's a post that goes out with a scripture and it's usually no more than a verse, two verse. Then we ask you to read the scripture and then to pray for one word that comes out. Maybe it's an actual word in the scripture that you read and go, man, that sticks out to me. So for instance, one of the first days that we did we just did John three 16, right? So for God, so loved the world that it gave was only begotten signed. Right? It was interesting. One of the, one of the words that kept coming up was just the word, so,

Ryan Dunn:

Okay.

Pierce Drake:

So love the world. So we're working through this. And so when we get to Lin, we're making these journals. So we're asking them to disengage on social media, but we we're giving them handles journals that will be set up for the scriptures will be in them each day. And we're asking for a sentence. So not just a word, but a sentence to engage and

Ryan Dunn:

These actual archaic paper journals that they are,

Pierce Drake:

They are

Ryan Dunn:

And writing it out. Okay. Yeah.

Pierce Drake:

Yeah. These are, these are real journals. These kids will be writing on and paper that they can put in their book bag. Do they have book backs? I have book back and writers in

Ryan Dunn:

The least. Yeah.

Pierce Drake:

Yeah. And that they'll carry around. So a way to disengage from the comparison of social that, that causes. So that's the takeaway and the filling is God's promises and God's truths. And so for those 40 days six weeks or seven weeks, however long it is, we have a different theme of scriptures each week that they'll be going through,

Ryan Dunn:

Have you done this before with them? Cuz I would be really keen to hear about some of, of their experiences, how they feel like their lives were enriched by having, given something up. Right. Especially something like social media that is so like rewards triggering. Yes. Right? Like we compulsively hop onto social media and hit the like button right. Or post something up because like it triggers something in our like animal brain. Right. That says, Hey, this is gonna feel good.

Pierce Drake:

I think inst Instagram and Facebook are, I mean they're, they're already taking away the like button

Ryan Dunn:

They're

Pierce Drake:

Right. Yeah. Because of that. Mm. And they've done it some other countries and seen it really successful. So it should be here in the states soon. We've done different things. Okay. We haven't done this one particularly, and this came out of us study that I read it talked about the power of reading your Bible, right? Mm. Again, I want to preface this in saying like, I'm not asking people to read their Bible out of religious duty. Okay. Out of religious, like this is what we do and you have to wake up at 5:00 AM and you know, whatever. Right. Like I do think there's something God has this principle throughout scripture of, of the first, right? The first of tithing, the first of gifts, the first of, of your time, the Sabbath is actually on the first day of the week, you know, like for us. So I do think there's power in starting your day in the word of God. But in that, what it found was it was really interesting. It said, if you read the scripture one day a week, so if you're in the Bible one day, which, which could be going to church one day a week, it really doesn't. It has negligible effect on your day to day life.

Ryan Dunn:

Okay. If

Pierce Drake:

You read it two days a week,

Ryan Dunn:

Negligible, meaning that just, no, it's not negative. It's just not there.

Pierce Drake:

Just not there. Got it. Two days a week, nothing, two days a week. There's there's really still no effect three days a week in the scripture. It, you, you see a blimp in your life change. You begin, you begin to see, but it's just a BLI. It's not this massive change. Four days a week. The research shows that everything jumps off the page. Okay. Loneliness drops by like 45% depression, whether

Ryan Dunn:

You're reading with another person or not.

Pierce Drake:

No. Yeah, just you and the you and the scriptures, loneliness drops, depression drops, anxiety drops. And we're not talking five, 10%. We're talking 40% and more on the reverse side of it viewing pornography drops by 72%. If you're in it four days a week, sharing your faith jumps like 200%. And so there's a whole list of things that, that came out of that study in that that's, that's what we're looking for. We're starting it on social media cuz that's where they are. And then we're leading to the taking away of social you where all the comparison, all the likes are, which like, again, we engage in social media. I don't think it's the enemy. I just think every good thing is also has a negative side. Right. Yeah. And so we're really interested to see how, what comes on the other side of this for our students.

Ryan Dunn:

Yeah, yeah. Yeah. I think that Lent can be this season of redefining what it is that brings us some kind of contentment. Right. So a lot of times we are giving up these things that are kind of like imposter contentment, right. Makers. Right. So like when I went through a period of fasting where I gave up the eating food for fun. Right. You know, the challenge that I found myself with was a lot of times I, I was consuming food simply because I feLent like this emptiness, right. Not an actual hunger, physical hunger, but just like I'm bored or I wish right now I could experience some kind of good feeling. Right. And so that would be expressed by, you know, down on a cupcake or yep. Or a bag of chips or something like that. When that is cut out, all of a sudden now we're looking for something to fill it, to replace it. Right. Yes. And I think what link calls us towards is to cut out those imposters as we look for that, which which really nourishes us.

Pierce Drake:

Yeah. Yeah. I'm reading through the Bible in six months with a group of guys. Yeah. We, we're just about to finish kind of the first five books of the old Testament. Right. But we're also in the Psalms, we're also in prove and we're in Luke. So we've made it through Matthew, mark and Luke. Okay. I've been reading a lot about the Hebrew people with Moses and the wilderness. And what I found interesting was how many signs and wonders God provided for them that he was with them. Right? Whether it be the manana that he provided in the morning for them to eat the quell at night, the, the cloud and the day, the fire at night to guide them the water from the rock Mo was this meeting with God on the mountain and coming down in his face, glowing, all these different things that were signs and wonders of God being with him. We're not even talking about the, the things that happened in Egypt, in the red sea. Like those, you know, like those are big things as well. Huge

Ryan Dunn:

Demonstrative

Pierce Drake:

Acts incredible. And yet they continually, continually went. Let's just let, this is too hard. Let's like, God's not with us. Yeah. God's not with us.

Ryan Dunn:

Yeah. Why did he bring us out to

Pierce Drake:

This wilderness? Let's go back to Egypt. Like I don't wanna die here. At least in Egypt, we were, we had food or whatever. And so what that showed me, what I've been thinking about is how the gifts of God, for us as humans, this shouldn't be the way, but the gifts of God, we often and forget. 'em Very quickly, you know, but then, but then go to Jesus where he at John chapter four and he meets this woman at a well, a woman who he's not supposed to talk to, according to religious law, they're custom she's a woman. She's a different nationality. They're alone together. It's scandalous this meeting. Right. And he ask her for a drink of water and they go into this debate. And he says to her, if you knew who I was, you would ask me for water because the water that I have to give, well, you will never go thirsty.

Pierce Drake:

And he's not talking about a literal water. He's talking about a spiritual water, right. He's talking about a relationship. The things of God, the blessings of God, the miraculous things of God, the cetera. I think the, those things are incredible. Let's look for those things. Let's, let's, let's embrace those things. Let's give praise to God for when those happens. But our human nature, according to reading the scriptures says that we forget those things. Hmm. But Jesus says, but it's me, not the things I give you, but it's me who gives you something that you will never go thirsty for again in. Hmm. And, and I think that's what Lynn is. Lynn is breaking our norm so that we connect with God so that we desire God, like, so that desiring of God grows. And out of that, desiring just to be with our God, our creator in the person of Jesus, through the power of the holy spirit with us, it's in those moments that we begin to see his promises.

Pierce Drake:

We begin to see his true character who God is. And then we come out of that. We love people better. Right? Not only do we understand the promises he's spoken over us, but it flows through us as well. I think that's the beauty of Lent. And I think the, the reality is, and I, I think we can easily walk away from this, especially in, I'll be honest. I see this a lot breaking away in our tribe as far as Methodism, but we don't really wanna talk about suffering. Yeah. But Paul talks about it a lot and he's says that, Hey, I want you to, to know the embrace of Jesus and the glory of Jesus, but also be with him. And the sufferings of Jesus suffering is a part of our story. Not that God causes suffering to harm us, but God does not allow Jesus to forgo suffering. Yeah,

Ryan Dunn:

Totally. Yeah.

Pierce Drake:

Then what us think that we're not gonna suffer some as well. And I think suffering comes in different ways. Yeah. So it's, it's less about God causing the suffering, but God using the suffering in our life to point us back to him and to realize he is a good God. So L is a part of that suffering, right? L the suing is the taking away of things that we enjoy. We like for a greater good, for a greater purpose. So you love the chips. Right? So to a degree, there's a suffering. I love social media. And so I love engaging with people. I love hearing their stories. I love posting pictures about my beautiful daughter, you know? Yeah. Like that's been my thing, you know, but where is our true delight coming from and how can we connect to of God? And I think Lin's a beautiful way because there's a call for us.

Ryan Dunn:

So you've talked about what you're doing within your student ministry to observe Lent you got any personal plans.

Pierce Drake:

Yeah. I think this next week and a half that I take off leading up to lint is gonna be the, the question. I don't have an answer now. Yeah. I really can't change my diet too much. This time I could fast, I've done fasting. I've done intermittent fasting where I fasted just a day a week, you know, or something like that for February. I chose the shortest month of, of the year to do a vegetarian diet.

Ryan Dunn:

Oh yeah.

Pierce Drake:

All right. Yeah. So I'm two weeks into that. Two and half weeks into that. I don't know what else I could

Ryan Dunn:

Somebody got that crazy look in your eye. Right,

Pierce Drake:

Right, right. Yeah. Yeah. I'm craving.

Ryan Dunn:

I wanna crawl over the table

Pierce Drake:

And craving some stab me in the night. Yeah. Some steak kidding. So, yeah, I don't, I don't know. But one of the things that my wife and I try to do is we, whatever we do, we try to do together. Again, that's accountability. If she's doing one thing and I'm doing another thing, well, then if we're both doing different diets, then it practically becomes hard, you know? Yeah. But together, I mean, I believe in not in all things has to be this way, but myself and her, we're married. We're one in this season, less together journey together toward Christ together. And so we don't do everything together. Like I, she's not doing this six months in a, in a month or six months Bible reading plan. Yeah. You know, like that's not, but the Lent we try to do together. So yeah. What about you? Do you have anything that you're thinking of going into it or what have you done in the past that has been beneficial? Yeah.

Ryan Dunn:

Well, there's something that I do every year, in fact, twice a year that of course I'd love doing by our listener to participate in as well. And that's the photo a day challenge that we do to rethink church. And that is just it, for me, it's such a cool way of plugging into community because there's thousands of people that are participating in this as well. And, and so for me, it's so rewarding to see the way that people creatively respond to this. And if, if you're unfamiliar, what it is through Rethink Church, we present a word a day through the season of Lent the words. You get a, a look at how the sausage is made here. The words are all pulled out of, of scripture reading that you're likely to hear in a worship service that weekend. A lot of the Christian world, we base our, our scripture readings off something called the common lectionary.

Ryan Dunn:

And a lot of churches use that system where it's, it's just like recommended readings, right. For any given Sunday. And so we take a look at those recommended readings for the Sunday, coming up and pull out words that we think are evocative to bringing images. We present one of those words each day. And the invitation is just to take a moment and pause, and then to respond to that word through a picture and to post that. And it's really cool to see the ways that it strikes some people, you know, sometimes it's pretty whimsical the way that people respond sometimes is incredibly powerful as well. You know, even the whimsical once can be, can be strangely powerful, for sure. So that's something that I participate in and of course, love seeing other people participate in too. For me, boy, I got really triggered when you started talking about the triggered in a good way, you know, you're good, you're good.

Ryan Dunn:

Hang up this mic and quit it. That triggered it. Ryan's jumping across, trigger it in a thoughtful way. Yeah. About the things that we hold onto that serve as it, as a distraction from, from true contentment. Those were my words, not yours. You put it a lot better, but so I, I have to think about like, what has been distracting me from, you know, experiencing more of, of God's presence in my life. And there's a play around with that in my mind. Some of the distractions that I fall into are using things like, well, I I'm a podcast addict, so, right. So is there a way that I can, you know, maybe I assume less of the podcast consumption and more of a presence time. You know, the time when I listen to podcasts generally are driving a car, you know, involved in my commute since I don't drive every day, I always got the earbuds in when I'm riding the train or walking here and, and listen to some kind of podcast asked, you know, can I co-op that time for maybe clearing out, you know, at least four days a week, that time to listen the scripture and see if I become part of the 70% that's uplifted to doing something like that.

Ryan Dunn:

I think

Pierce Drake:

The, the goal, if you've never participated in Lent in this fashion of fasting and giving up something, then I would encourage you. Just like Ryan said, like, just look at your every day, you know, look at your every day and go, Hey, what is, what's a rhythm that I could take away from introduce for this first time that isn't this dry, massive, really hard, difficult, you know what I mean? Like, so if you're not reading your Bible or daily or whatever, or even reading your Bible and you're not really praying, that's not really your rhythm. Yeah. And, and you also need to get in the gym, right. Like, because like, I just, I wanna feel better. I want to have more energy, whatever I, I want, I want there to be some body they work out, then they go, okay, I'm not doing any of those things.

Pierce Drake:

So here's what I'm gonna do at 4:00 AM. I'm gonna work out for an hour, then I'm gonna read for an hour and then I'm gonna pray for an hour. And then I'm gonna take a shower and I'll be at work by seven 30. And it's like, whoa, like, like that is, that's a massive goal. Right. You know? So I think I'm, I'm using hopefully extreme hyperbole here to talk about like, look in your everyday to say, Hey, where is a natural rhythm that I have you come to work every day? Yeah. Four or five days a week,

Ryan Dunn:

Five days a week, peers I'm committed.

Pierce Drake:

Well, you, you said four, you said four earlier. So that's what I said,

Ryan Dunn:

Four, because that was the stat that you dropped in talking about people.

Pierce Drake:

Oh, okay. Gotcha. Gotcha. Yeah. And oh, Ron does work. He's a diligent worker

Speaker 3:

Are listening to this. Like we gotta check on Ryan. He's only coming in

Ryan Dunn:

Four days a week.

Pierce Drake:

He works offsite one day. But look at your normal life. I think people are getting the picture. And, and where is that natural rhythm to, to separate something, to add something, the prayer is right. That God will reveal himself more to you. And you'll see more of, God's love more of mercy, more of God's grace and begin to embrace it. You know? And I think for me as a pastor, I was talking to a pastor last night and maybe we can end on this. There are days that I need to accept the grace that I preach. Mm. The grace that I talk about, I need to accept for myself more than I do.

Ryan Dunn:

Does that answer your questions about Lent? Maybe not. So you may wanna surf over to umc.org and search L all kinds of helpful articles will appear giving more historical background on Lent and how people observe the season. Of course, one of my favorite ways to observe the season is through the rethink church photo, a J challenge. This practice presents us with a word each day. We're then asked to think on the word a bit, maybe through the whole day, and then share a picture on what that word means to us or where we see the word popping up in our day. I'll tell you the best part of this practice for me, isn't in the actual taking of pictures on my own. For me, the best part is in seeing how other people react to these words, take a word like repent. For example, I might have a hard time imagining how repent is showing up in my life.

Ryan Dunn:

As Jonathan me noted a few episodes ago, repent is a word with baggage and seeing how other people are engaging with that word really helps me understand repentances place in my own life. So, because the practice is so informative through the community engagement that it creates the photo a day practice. This is one of my favorites this year what's been particularly inspiring for me, came about in response to our episode with AJ  Sherrill, a few weeks ago. AJ spoke with us about contemplative practices. And one of the simplest contemplative practices is called centering prayer. It starts with taking a word or phrase for God and letting that word or phrase be the center of our attention throughout the practice. We then take a specific amount of time, say seven minutes and sit with that word or phrase. I know it sounds a little strange, but it is a great way to stir a sense of holy presence to the day.

Ryan Dunn:

So I've begun doing a time of centering upon waking each morning. And that means I wait for eight minutes before going off to grab my phone or going to grab my first cup of coffee. And I sit in centering practice. It's refreshing now a couple times I've dozed back into sleep and that's okay. The practice supposed to open us up to that, which we really need. And maybe that's been rest on a few mornings.

One last meaningful lit practice. This one was suggested by Joe Iovino, who is one of the writers at umc.org and a friend. In his article “Beyond fasting: 10 tips for a more meaningful Lent”, Joe suggests making a point to use the words “I love you” a little more often.

He even notes that many of us think our actions are speaking the words for us. I know I fall into that, but there's a lot of assurance offered by uttering those three words together. And people need that assurance more than we think it's a, a great invitation. Okay. So I hope this has provided to you with a course of navigating a meaningful season of Lent.

May this time be one of blessing and spiritual enrichment for you pears. And I will be back in a couple weeks with another fresh episode of compass in the hopes that we can disrupt your day with a glimpse of divine movement. In the meantime, be well peace.