Lenten Challenge #5: Rebooting Your Approach to the Dark Times

This Lent, I’ve been preoccupied with dark subjects. I’ve written about people who don’t have enough to eat, about pernicious ingrown racist attitudes and about innocent Asylum Seekers thrown in jail. So when I heard that Pastor Brad would be preaching on Face Your Dark Times, I thought, “Oh great, here I go down another dark rabbit hole and it isn’t even Good Friday yet.”

Pastor Brad’s sermon centered on the Dry Bones bible story, where Ezekiel breathes life into the dry bones so that “they came to life and stood up on their feet—a vast army.” God gave Ezekiel the power to bring the bones back to life. All Ezekiel had to do was say the words, “Come, breath, from the four winds and breathe into these slain, that they may live.”

Pastor Brad’s sermon emphasized that God puts the power in us to breathe life into those who are suffering. It doesn’t take much, often like Ezekiel, we just have to say the words. As Brad said: 

“When those of you who visit the detainees, you breathe life into dry bones. To those of our youth who make bag lunches or stuff bags with food for children to bring lunch home on Fridays, you breathe life into dry bones. When you write politicians and call their offices, when you march for a cause you feel called to support, you breath life into broken systems.”    Pastor Brad Motta          

According to Pastor Brad, it is equally important to reach out to others in dark times. Community can be a powerful healer. 

“Our dark times, our difficult times in life are often isolated… Often we want to breathe life into our own dry bones, but it is difficult, if not impossible.

 I believe if we want to face the dark times in our lives and get through them, it is best to do in community. When we hold one another, when we pray for one another, when we listen to one another even when there aren’t words that can be said back. When we work together on how to move forward.”

I know for me the reaching out for help is 100 times harder than lending a helping hand. I’d have to confess to a weakness that I can barely even admit to myself. Reaching out is for other people. But thinking back on some of my dark times, when the Cannon Copier people were robo-calling my home phone day and night, when I jerked awake at 3 am heart pounding, all body parts on high alert because I couldn’t make payroll the next day.

Instead of letting the razor sharp recriminations ricochet around my brain, what if I had simply uttered a few words to tell someone how badly I was hurting? Maybe I would have emerged from the darkness sooner? Or less damaged? Reaching out goes two ways, asking for, as well as dispensing help. That’s the harder and ultimately liberating lesson of Brad’s sermon.

As Pastor Brad says, ““Dark times call us to reach out, to tell dry bones that they can live, to trust that God can work in the darkest of times and through us can breathe life into even the darkest valley.”

 

Modern Church Lady Reboot Challenge #5:

How can you open yourself up to receiving  help from others this Lent?

 

This is the 5th in a series of five Modern Church Lady Reboot Challenges. Come back next week for an Easter Season Wrap-Up.

For Reboot Challenge #1: Rebooting Your Approach to Temptation, Click Here.

For Reboot Challenge #2: Rebooting Your Attitude Towards Food, Click Here

For Reboot Challenge #3: Rebooting Responsibility for Race Relations, Click Here

For Reboot Challenge #4: Rebooting the American Way, Click Here

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