By Libi Clifford
When I was growing up, one of the signs of spring was the annual house cleaning.
This was a top-to-bottom, no holds barred, clean up and clean out. As a teenager conscripted to help, I could never understand the need, because if cleanliness was next to godliness my mother was two for two. As I grew older, I realized that the cleaning had a twofold purpose. The more important one wasn’t the physical cleaning, it was the joy and satisfaction of starting a new season with a clean slate. The dust and clutter were gone.
The same joy can be achieved with a personal house cleaning before Easter. A clean up and clean out of the clutter during Lent can help us focus on what we really need to live. We can eliminate the things that slow us in achieving a closer relationship with God. We can come to Easter with new appreciation for all God provides for us through his Creation and through his gift of Jesus in our lives. When you really appreciate something, you want to share this bounty with others.
The Anglican Fellowship of Prayer website has a pamphlet called Keeping a Holy Lent, which describes the three traditional practices you can follow to achieve this housecleaning-Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving. Prayer in Lent is meant to focus on self-examination so we can better understand what separates from God. Fasting helps us eliminate some of the unnecessary things in our lives (not just food) and fosters a better appreciation for the bounty that God provides for us. Almsgiving is sharing this bounty and your gifts with others. Jesus gave his life, we can use our gifts for others.
The brochure also gives bible readings for the season of Lent and suggestions for making Lenten prayer a daily practice, fasting from food and different kinds of almsgiving.
The brochure can be located at http://anglicanprayer.org/resources/Keeping%20a%20Holy%20Lent_Sep_2017.pdf
Libi Clifford is a member of the AFP Huron executive.