So what cool thing are you doing this year? Doing the 'give up sweets or chocolate' thing or are you a person that is willing to give up Facebook? If not, are you still searching for that thing that will make Lent a great spiritual journey? Are you wondering what the future of your church will look like? If yes, then what you need to do is listen. Listen to your family, listen to your church family, listen to your community.
In the Church world, we call listening to your community as "community exegesis". Imagine a world where people were in tune with what is happening around them. Imagine a world that people took on the causes of their neighborhood. Imagine a world where people worked together and fought to reduce the blights that bring down wholeness within our schools, churches and homes. Community exegesis is the avenue for us to find out what we have been doing wrong or what we have ignored and it also points out what God is already up to on our streets and in our neighborhoods.
During Lent this year, you should give up your idea of what your community is and start from scratch. Preconceived notions of stereotypes and generalizations are what builds barriers and that needs to stop. Listen for these things happening around you, listen for what needs done, listen to your community and find out where you, your family and your church fits in to the puzzle.
Prayer walks, knocking on a neighbor's door, sitting in a coffee shop (while not playing on your phone) or attending an event at the library are all great ways for us to step outside our normal life and see what is happening around us. During Lent we can be witnesses to things that need fixed in our community and we can witness what is doing well within our towns.
So in this Lenten season, listen.
For a great Lenten devotional, the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary has a great resource.