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  • Wade Paton

SHARED LONGINGS | Lent 2024



One of the themes that Jesus has put on our hearts as a church in this last season is to pay attention to our appetites. The things we hunger and thirst most for reveal a lot about who we are as human beings. It is not an exaggeration to say that most of our decisions and choices are motivated by how we seek to satisfy the longings of our hearts, souls, minds, and bodies. It is also true of us that we tend to be impatient with our appetites. When I feel the first pangs of discomfort, I will often run to the thing that most quickly dulls the ache, whether it is good for me or not.


The truth is God created us with good longings that He shares and provides the satisfaction for. When we ignore those truest and deepest longings, our lives become driven by wants that are distortions of what God has placed within us. To then chase after what we want believing that it will somehow make us whole leads to entanglements that rob us of life instead of enhancing life. In turn, our thinking and behaviours become dominated by the powers of rights and freedoms instead of the way of self-giving love and, before long, we are wondering how we got into such a mess.


Lent is a practice designed to help rid us of harmful attachments as we learn to trust Jesus for the ways he wants to satisfy the deepest longings of our souls. As you make your way through this Lent guide you will see a pattern to our reflections. We will be identifying our wants, renouncing entanglements, and asking Jesus to reveal the shared longing that he is calling us to embrace. By fasting from our wants in the strength the Holy Spirit provides and trusting Jesus with our appetites, we believe that we can live more fully into the life God has prepared for us.


May the love and peace of Christ sustain you in this season of Lent as we anticipate the glory of resurrection.


 

Here is what you will encounter week by week!


STORY

Read through the personal reflections from our staff team. What do you relate to? Does their story stir anything in you? How can their reflections help you to better understand your own story?


READ

Slowly read through the passages offered. How do they relate to the reflection? What is Spirit revealing through them?


REFLECT

Take time to work through the prompting questions to reflect on how you may be grasping for wants and becoming entangled rather than embracing shared longings with God.


RESPOND

Using the guided prompts, take time to respond in confession, asking God to identify, cultivate, and provide for those truer, deeper longings.


FAST

An ancient practice of the people of God is fasting. Fasting is the act of abstaining from something in order to focus on Jesus instead. Every week, you will be invited to participate in a different fast to help detach from our surface wants and pay attention to our longings.


How you engage with these fasts are up to you. At the end of the week as your fast comes to a close, we invite you to reflect on how going without has allowed you to be with Jesus instead. How has life has been different while taking a break from satisfying your normal wants? Share with those who are journeying with you. Encourage one another along the way.


RECEIVE

Take time to receive from Jesus at the Table of Blessing where we find fulfillment for our deepest longings in him and through him. Join us on Sunday mornings as we come to the Table together and experience his mercy, goodness, and love.


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