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Spiritual Boot Camp
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Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21.   Spiritual Boot Camp

 

Boot Camps around Edmond have become cool.  What once was something to avoid at all cost – a Military Boot Camp – reserved only for the best of the best – the few, the proud, the Marines – or other service men and women has somehow become in vogue for soccer Mom’s and even accountants.  I find two kinds of people who participate in these boot camps – talkers and doers.  You may have experienced this yourself.  The talkers buy outfits for the bootcamp, enroll their friends in the bootcamp, have after bootcamp lattes, and wear t-shirts that say I survived “So and so’s Bootcamp.”  They almost always look the way they did before they started the bootcamp.  Thus, they have to wear the shirt.

 

But I have also noticed people who simply show up, do the work, watch what they eat after their strenuous work out, drink a lot of water, I mean a LOT of water, and don’t talk much...they don’t have to...because they look great!  People come up to them and say, “Wow!  You look amazing.  How did you do it?”  “What’s your secret?”  “Did you cut your hair?”  And they might answer, “I found a great trainer.  The trainer really gets me and helps me understand what I could do to get stronger and feel better. It makes a wonderful difference in my life.”  This is when most people ask, “Who do you go to?”  “What’s the cost?”  “Can I get in?”  “If so, when can I start?”

 

In Spiritual Bootcamp, the answers are “Jesus” is my trainer.  “Everything” is the cost. Can you get it? “Absolutely – I was hoping you would ask!” and “You can start today!”

 

Acts of piety (prayer, alms giving, fasting) are important – not to make us look important, but as means to let God transform us, and through us, the world. Ash Wednesday is the start of the Lenten journey of 40 weekdays (Monday through Saturday) that takes the church to the eve of Easter. Sundays are not included in the count of 40 days, as Sundays in the Christian Year are always "little Easter" celebrations.  Lent is about penitence – a “gut check” if you will. It is about what is real and what is really going on with us. It is about confronting our sinfulness and our mortality.

 

Let that spirit of getting ready for a spiritual boot camp pervade how you celebrate Ash Wednesday this year. Oh, and how about this, don’t talk to anyone about your “Lenten Discipline” this year. Just do it! And see if God decides to allow anyone else to ever know what it was. Perhaps, the discipline of secrecy will bless you this lent. There is something holy and beautiful about making the world a more beautiful place to live without anyone knowing it was you.

 

Yes, we are sinners. Yes, we will all die. All will become known for all of us. No more image management. No more hiding. No more secrets. We will be free to know and be fully known as we have longed for all of our earthly lives because we will be in the safe and sure hands of love itself – Jesus, God and Father of us all, made beautiful by the Holy Spirit.

 

As a way of marking this reality, in the Ash Wednesday service, we take ashes and make the sign of the cross on the forehead or hand of any who want to come forward to remember, “From dust you were created. To dust you shall return.

 

Embrace these realities. Live today for that day when we celebrate at the finish line of faith.

“O God, maker of everything and judge of all that you have made; from the dust of the earth you have formed us and from the dust of death you would raise us up. By the redemptive power of the cross, create in us clean hearts and put within us a new spirit, that we may repent of our sins and lead lives worthy of your calling, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

(From United Methodist Hymnal #353)


WORSHIP TIMES
Friday Evening
 6:30 p.m. - One Church Worship

Sunday Morning
 9:15 a.m. - Worship at Acts 2
10:45 a.m. - Worship at Acts 2

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4848 W. Covell
Edmond, OK 73012
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Phone: 405-359-2287

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