Blog post by the Rev. Dr. Craig M. Howard
Presbytery of Giddings-Lovejoy
Lent comes from the old English word “Lenten,” meaning “spring.” Lent is an invitation to a springtime for the soul. It is forty days to remember what it’s like to live by God’s grace alone and not by what we can supply for ourselves. My Lenten practice is not one of giving up something. Instead, it is a practice of nurturing my mind and soul by reading a book each week.
This year I am experiencing a strong yearning for internal change. Perhaps it is because I want to lead a culture of change in our presbytery, and I am learning that the first step of change has to come from within me. I have to ask myself the difficult question of how I must act and be different, in order for the church to be different.
In the book Deep Change: Discovering the Leader Within, Robert E. Quinn writes, “Deep change requires new ways of thinking and behaving; change that is major in scope, discontinuous for the past and generally irreversible. Deep change means surrendering control.”
Unfortunately, we do not have the option of determining when and how the Spirit moves. I know that just because I want to experience deep change, doesn’t mean it will happen.
Richard Foster, in the book Disciplines of the Spirit writes, “A farmer is helpless to grow grain; all (the farmer) can do is provide the right conditions for the growing of grain. (The farmer) cultivates the ground, plants the seed, waters the plants, and then the natural forces of the earth take over and up comes the grain…This is the way it is with the Spiritual Disciplines – they are a way of sowing to the Spirit… By themselves the Spiritual Disciplines can do nothing; they can only get us to the place where something can be done.”
This Lent, let’s sow seeds of the Spirit through prayer, meditation, reflection, writing, walking, or however you get in touch with the divine. May God bless us with a harvest of Spiritual fruit, and bring the needed change in the church and inside each of us.
Craig’s Lenten Reading 2018
- God Hunger: Discovering the Mystic In All of Us– John Kirvan
- The Sabbath– Abraham Joshua Herschel
- Sabbath: Finding Rest, Renewal, and Delight in our Busy Lives– Wayne Muller
- Leadership and Self Deception: Getting Out of the Box– The Arbinger Institute
- A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities that Arise in Disaster– Rebecca Solnit
- Maximizing the Triple Bottom Line: Through Spiritual Leadership– Louis W. Fry and Melissa Sadler Nisiewicz
Rev. Craig M. Howard