Often when we think about a Lenten spiritual discipline we think of giving up something for that season. But the purpose of a Lenten spiritual discipline — to grow closer to God — also allows us to take this time to intentionally and regularly practice an action that we want to become a discipline in our lives. This year we want to invite you to practice confession, lament, and doing justice during Lent. On the Do Justice blog, you'll find an introduction to those disciplines, a reminder that we practice those disciples within a framework of grace as redeemed people, and a weekly Lent plan to incorporate those disciplines.
View the Lenten Journey of Confession and Action resource here.
Doing justice can be a spiritual discipline along the lines of other spiritual disciplines. Seeking the well-being of others before seeking our own does not come naturally to us as sinful people; we have a natural tendency to hate God and our neighbor (Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day One, Q & A 5). Our sinful nature is not only at play in us as individuals and in our relationships, but is also built into the systems in which we operate. The brokenness of these systems often manifests itself in barriers for the flourishing of all — barriers to Shalom — especially for the most vulnerable populations of our society. Our sinful nature also means that we want quick fixes and easy answers. But as difficult as it is, God calls us to live into the complexities of redeeming those broken systems. This is where the disciplines of confession and lament come in. When we confess the ways that we seek our own well-being before that of others and the ways that we participate in those broken systems, we are acknowledging that we are sinners saved by grace alone.
As we are forgiven by God’s immense grace, we are also set free and empowered, through the Holy Spirit, to live more fully into the example of self-giving love Christ sets for us. That's why this Lent plan includes not only confession and lament but also concrete ways to practice doing justice. As we practice the discipline of loving our neighbors, we are conformed more and more into the image of God. We seek justice for others because God calls us to be a blessing to others, but in doing justice we also realize that our well-being is deeply connected to the well-being of people around the world. We realize that in seeking justice we not only demonstrate the character of God to others, but we also learn more about the character of God from the vulnerable people we partner with to seek justice.
Last but not least, we need to remember we confess and lament as forgiven sinners and that we do justice out of a framework of grace, knowing that God is redeeming the world — not us on our own power. We are called to confess our sins and repent, not one time but over and over again. Yet God doesn’t leave us there. He constantly shapes and molds us closer to his image and uses us in his plan to redeem our world and remove the barriers in our systems that prevent others from flourishing. So we don’t practice justice out of fear, guilt, or need to fix the brokenness all on our own. That’s why we have included a version of the following refrain at the end of each week:
“Rest in the complete sufficiency of God’s grace to forgive you and the power of the Holy Spirit to draw all of us, in community, towards a greater, more active love for all of our neighbors and all of creation. God is redeeming his world.”
To access the full Lenten Journey of Confession and Action resource, visit Do Justice.