A number of years ago, while in the days of searching and seeking other Christian denominational traditions, one of the things that I used to watch was the American Televangelist Dr. Robert Schuller from The Crystal Cathedral, and the program The Hour of Power. Schuller was a Dutch Reform pastor who practised a lot of the psychological works of Noman Vincent Peel and the power of positive thinking. The episode that I remember the most from that time was during the season of Lent when, from the pulpit, Schuller said that Lent was an acronym for “Let’s ignorE Negative Thinking.” Today as a I look back and as I prepare for the Season of Lent, both for my own spiritual needs and that of a parish, I think that is the one thing that we could give up for Lent—negative thinking!
For some reason or another, thinking negatively about something is a thing that Anglicans are very good at doing. We are the first to say “no” when the word “change” is involved. When something occurs the first thoughts we have had have been negative thoughts. We do not take the time to step back from things and think about the positive effects that change could have, or the positive outcomes that something might have. In the life of the Church, we always encourage people to give up something for Lent and to replace that something that they give up with more of our spiritual practises of prayer, Bible study, and the ever-so-famous mid-week Lenten worship.
So, if you are wondering what you are going to give up this year for Lent, may I be so bold as to suggest to you to give up negative thinking. Think about saying yes to God. Think about the positives that a newcomer into our communities can bring to us. Think about the positives that your parish priest would like to bring to your parish. Think about the positive ways in which you can be involved in parish life. Think about the positive ways that you can impact a person’s life, just by the simple fact that you smile and say hello to a stranger in the supermarket or other places you meet people. As simple positive act and change a person’s day. Who knows, you may just change a person’s life. So this Lent, “Let’s ignorE Negative Thinking.”