Vol 23 No 1 January/February 2008
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Instead, give yourself something extra this Lent.
Can you hear it? Lutherans around the world are asking the same question: "What am I going to give up for Lent?" If you're like me, you pick something you should give up anyway: foul language, gossiping, or—during one particularly painful 40 days—high-fat Mexican food. But how, I wonder, can abstaining from my favourite super burrito bring me closer to God? Well, it didn't. So this year, I'm taking my cues from Kari Heise, an Edmonton wife and mother who decided to give her family a Lenten experience they'll never forget. For nine months, Heise fed her family of four on just $300 a month, the amount of money she would have if her family lived on social assistance. If Lent is a time for discipline, devotion, and preparation, her challenge required all of that and more. It quickly pervaded her life and made her think differently about money, food, and how little we need to survive—and even thrive. And it brought the idea of sacrifice to a new, truly palpable level.
Heise doesn't use the word sacrifice to describe her experience, after all, she has a car, a supportive husband, her health, and as a stay-at-home mom, she had the time to create her pared-down menu. Those who rely on government welfare have few of these advantages in planning their daily lives, so she is quick to point out that hers was also a lesson in humility and in gratitude for all that she does have.
Our cover story (page 10) isn't simply a tale of "giving up" for Lent. Heise's nine-month project reaped plenty of rewards, namely deep personal reflection and the opportunity to connect with God. In fact, she's inspired me to forgo a simple burrito ban this Lent. Instead of giving up something I love, I'm going to give myself something extra—more time with God. My plan is simple: build in extra opportunities each day for a moment of prayer … before my morning workout, during my drive to work, or just as I settle in to cook dinner for my family. Making a conscious effort to live in the presence of God is a great way to discern our failings, refocus our priorities, reflect on our blessings, and recognize our continued need for his presence in our lives. In finding those precious moments this Lent, we will acknowledge the truly great sacrifice God made for all of us.
Lucia Carruthers, Editor
PS Canada Lutheran has a new look, courtesy of graphic designer Kristen Guy. But more than just a pretty face, this issue is packed with inspiring stories, tips, and new departments that will help you connect your faith to everyday life. From highlighting Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada mission projects around the world to focusing on family issues, we will give you the tools to live your faith, apply Lutheran values to an increasingly complex world, and feel more connected to the church as a whole. Let us know what you think by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.