A Mindful Lent
(Article written for next week's issue of the local paper)

A few days ago I was at Bonner Elementary helping out in a delightful classroom of kindergarteners. The project for the hour was for each child to create a pattern of shapes and glue them on the top of a large green sheet of paper. All the youngsters were invited to create whatever pattern of shapes and colors they preferred.

One young boy was working very intently on his project when he looked up at me and suddenly said; “Hey, I’m being really conscious right now.” I said with a big smile and giggle, “That’s marvelous! What do you think that word “conscious” might mean?” While he wasn’t exactly sure what the word meant, he was definitely sure of what he was trying to express. He was trying to say: I’m really paying attention right now.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this young boy’s wise words. They speak volumes about being fully present in all of life’s moments. His words also relate to our spiritual lives during this season of Lent.

Lent is a time to quiet our minds, slow down, and simplify our lives. The church year provides us with these 40 days to pay attention and really be “conscious.” Lent is a time to be mindful of what the Holy Spirit is up to in our world and in our lives.

During these weeks of Lent, here are a few ideas for how to increase your own mindfulness of God’s presence: 1) wake up 5 minutes early to read a Psalm, 2) drink a cup of tea and sip it slowly, 3) use a few minutes of your lunch break to breathe (it’s amazing how often we forget to take deep, healthy breaths), 4) take a few moments before bed to share a highlight of the day with your family, and 5) worship in a local congregation and savor the blessing of community.

The season of Lent is a beautiful opportunity to pause and reflect on what Christ has done and what Christ continues to do in our lives. May God inspire us to be mindful and fully present for all the moments of this sacred time of year.

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