Lent Devotions from Church Street UMC
Sunday, March 3, 2024
By Dona Bunch
Little Acts of Lent
Read: Zechariah 4:6
Each little act of love matters. The day of big things is coming, but until then, we are not to neglect the day of small things. Zechariah’s words again ring true: “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts”.
When I was a child, my church had little coin holders for kids during Lent. Each week we put a dime of our allowance in the slot instead of spending it on candy or other treats. We were learning the spiritual discipline of Lent.
Lent is one of the “big” religious seasons of the year. As Christmas celebrates the birth of Christ, Lent acknowledges His death and ultimate resurrection. What is a bigger event than resurrection?
To commemorate this season, Christian churches use the practice of fasting, sacrifice, and denial as participatory actions. Because Lent is so big, we feel our observation should be equally huge. I often have trouble deciding on something big enough to be worthy of the cross. Sacrificing coffee or chocolate doesn’t do it, and fasting is just beyond me.
I was reading an article by a novelist who spoke of eschewing the “bigness” of best sellers and tv appearances and all things that authors dream about in favor of the small, daily acts that eventually turn an idea into a printed book. She sang the praises of going small.
It struck me that maybe the “bigness” of Lent was what made me so tentative. Maybe I could focus on actions and sacrifices that were smaller but still meaningful.
After all, Jesus was the ultimate minimalist. He cared nothing for material things and encouraged others to think similarly. He was the very model of small, individual acts of service. So, what if we gave up the grand gesture for the small act?
- We could give up self-ness for otherness. We could help someone who’s suffering by providing for their needs, be it food or the comfort of a friend.
- We could give up our love of the physical – new clothes, that new Apple watch – for meaning without cost, maybe family time or calls to loved ones far away.
- We could give up the pain we’ve been holding from past experiences and recapture the peace that’s been lost.
- We could give up noise for solitude and quiet – like walking without a podcast or taking a break from scrolling and tv.
Ultimately, we would be giving up “bigness” for the small miracles, the quiet moments of prayer, silence, reflection, and service that draw us ever closer to the heart of God. And when we’re renewed and refreshed, the bigness of Easter might move us even more.
Precious God, help us to recognize the bigness of your sacrifice, and show us ways that our small, human acts can express our devotion and love to You. Amen.