Beat The Seasonal Rush

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For the full text of the sermon, read on!

Hello, friends, and welcome back. I’m the Rev. Sare Liz Anuszkiewicz and this is the Sunday Sermon. If you’re looking for the bits of the bible I’ve referenced in this sermon, you can find the link right here on the website where you found this audio file. For the nerds in the know, this is First Sunday in Lent, and here’s the sermon I preached on February 26, 2023. 

Good morning, and welcome to Lent. Now, if you haven’t already figured out what exactly you’re going to give up, or what you’re going to take on, yes we’re on the fifth day of Lent, but you know, in former years by the fifth day I’d already failed and even forgotten what I promised to do, so I say it’s a perfect time to start again.

So let’s discuss this whole giving something up, taking something on thing. The whole point of this practice is to draw closer to God. So… if you’re not really making the connection how fasting, or eating fish fry rather than hamburgers on Friday, or giving up chocolate or caffeine or nicotine is bringing you closer to God, you have two choices: either figure it out, or pick something that is more obvious to you. And honestly, this is Lent, so we want our spiritual practices to be real obvious. Let me give you an example.

I like chocolate, but I could take it or leave it. I like coffee, but I could take it or leave it. And I find fish fries more decadent than hamburgers by a mile possibly because I like them more than hamburgers by a mile. So for me, giving up chocolate, or coffee, or red meat on Fridays does not bring me closer to God. It’s just a thing I can take or leave, and that’s not the point.

But you know, this year, this year my lenten discipline is really specific and it’s a list of six things I’m meant to do in the morning before I do anything other than feed the cats, and this list of six things… it takes at least 90 minutes to do them all justice. Two hours is preferable. And they’re not six random things. They’re actually six very specific things that if I do them all, they help me to have a really great day, a really balanced day, an emotionally calm day, and a day (typically) without migraines. But I tell you what – I haven’t wanted to do them. I know it sounds crazy, but I’ve been working with a version of this list for years now, and I haven’t wanted to do the things I need to do to keep myself healthy and sane and I’ve wanted to do everything else for everyone else first. I’ve been so impatient with the things meant to take care of myself, and so patient with the things meant to take care of others.

But this isn’t what God wants for me. God wants me to be whole, healthy, and balanced, just like God wants for you.

So. Your situation will inevitably be different because we’re different, but when you consider your Lenten discipline for this year, don’t just do what you’ve always done, look at the places in your life that you struggle to do what is right. Do you struggle to think of others first? Do you struggle to take care of yourself? Do you struggle with compassion, or integrity, tranquility, or joy? Look to the places you struggle first, then ask yourself, ‘What can I do, or stop doing, that will help me be more joyful, more peaceful, more focused on others, or more focused on myself?’ 

And once you’ve decided on something, hold yourself accountable. Put up a chart somewhere in your home and put a big, satisfying ‘X’ on every day that you do your discipline. And feel free to ask me about mine. Because for the first time in years, it’s day five, and I’m going strong.


[EDIT: This year I only missed two days in my Lenten Discipline. 38 days out of 40. This is the first time in a lifetime of being Christian and maintaining a holy Lent that I managed to do more than 4 days out of 40.]

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