Examine yourselves to see if your faith is genuine. (2 Corinthians 13:5)
The season of Lent, the forty days of spiritual preparation leading up to Easter, began last week with the observance of Ash Wednesday. In the Christian tradition, Lent is a time for the believer to commemorate the great price Jesus Christ paid for humankind’s redemption through His passion, death, burial and resurrection. Typically the observance of Lent is expressed by individual believers through prayer and repentance, fasting and other acts of self-denial, and almsgiving.
No matter what denominational or liturgical background, Lent is a season in which every believer is called to reflect upon the meaning and depth of one’s own faith relationship with God. It is a time as the apostle Paul says to “examine yourselves to see if your faith is genuine.” (2 Corinthians 13:5)
This examination process, as one can imagine, can take a myriad of forms. Discoveries of new approaches to spiritual self assessment are particularly helpful because they can enable the believer to probe here unto uncharted depths of the soul. This Lent I have been blessed to make such a find.
In reading a Lenten meditation written by Frederick Buechner, an American writer and theologian, I came across six questions which he says that ”during Lent, Christians are supposed to ask one way or another what it means to be themselves.” They are taken from his book Wishful Thinking: A Theological ABC published in 1973. (pgs. 74-75)
I found them immensely helpful, recording my answers in a matter of minutes, capturing my first impressions and thoughts, going back to reread and edit for clarification, and then reflecting upon what God was saying to me and what if anything He would have me do about it.
So here they are, from the pen of Frederick Buechner, six questions for Lenten reflection.
- If you had to bet everything you had on whether there is a God or whether there isn’t which side would get your money and why?
- When you look at your face in the mirror what do you see in it that you most like and what do you see in it that you most deplore?
- If you had only one last message to leave to a handful of people who are most important to you what would it be in 25 words or less?
- Of all the things you have done in your life, which is the one you would most like to undo? Which is the one that makes you the happiest to remember?
- Is there any person in the world, or any cause that if circumstances called for it, you would be willing to die for?
- If this were the last day of your life, what would you do with it?
What did you learn about yourself? More importantly what did you learn about your perception of God? Is there anything He would have you do as a result of this simple exercise?
Your comments are always welcome.
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