My name is Peggy Langille. If you know me, you know I love nothing better than several good cups of coffee in the morning (and in a pinch even bad coffee will do.) And if you know my friend John Evans you know he visits with his doctor multiple times a day — Dr. Pepper that is. A couple of months ago John and I started talking about the idea of giving up these loves of ours for Lent and only drinking water to replace them. We are hoping that some you will also take up the challenge and join us on this journey.
The idea of a Lenten fast is an age old Christian discipline that starts on Ash Wednesday and goes through until Easter. We often think of it associated with the Catholic church, but in the last century it has gained popularity with many Protestants. Lent is perfect time for us to be in prayer, fasting and almsgiving as a way of drawing closer to Christ. This fast isn’t about giving something up to lose weight or for health reasons. It is all about drawing strength from Christ without the crutches of things like coffee and soda, which we often use to make ourselves comfortable. Through the small sacrifice of giving this up for a time, we can also develop a deeper understanding of the ultimate sacrifice that Christ made for us and that is the reason John and I decided to do it.
Our fast is a little different than some you might be familiar with and possibly is more doable if you are a novice. We are talking about just giving up one thing that is our daily comfort and drinking water instead. You don’t have to stop eating all food once a week or anything like that. You don’t even have to just drink only water unless you want to. We just want you to take that one thing that you reach for every day and replace with water and prayer.
Since John and I will be drinking water to replace our coffee and Dr. Pepper we have decided that the money we don’t spend on these comforts over the 6 weeks of Lent will be given to a clean water fund. There are almost 3 billion people in the world without access to clean water. The UM General Board of Global Missions has several different water projects underway in the world. We have chosen one in Liberia. You may recall that Liberia was shattered by a civil war in the 90s. About 75% of Liberians still do not have access to safe drinking water and sanitation facilities, something that we all take for granted. So in addition to drawing closer to Jesus we also get the joy of helping the people in Liberia have access to life giving clean water. Click here to learn more about our choice.
John and I would welcome anyone in the congregation who wants to join us on this journey. It doesn’t matter if you have done this before or have never attempted it. Doing this with a group will help us all support and encourage other another during the 6 weeks. We haven’t worked out the exact details yet but we will have some form of virtual support group. Either over the phone or on-line to encourage and pray for one another and to just talk about what the journey is stirring up for each of us. There is no need to walk it alone. This will be easier if we do it together.
If you don’t feel like you are in a place of being able to do this that’s ok – I’d just ask that you pray for us, because it won’t be easy. You might want to pray also for those people who have to deal with us on a daily basis; it will probably be even harder for them since they have to be around us when we don’t have our go to things that make us feel good.
Forms are available from me, on the welcome tables and the Church office. If you would like to do this with us, please fill it out and turn it into the office or give it to me or John. So see me today for a card or pray about it and sign up next week. I promise you will not regret this opportunity to grow spiritually. If for some reason you feel the urge of the Spirit start once we are already in the Lenten season that’s fine too. Jesus can work with whatever we give him so don’t feel you missed the boat if you decide sometime after Ash Wednesday, you can still join us then.
If you have any questions feel free to ask one of us or the pastors we would be glad to help you.