Today is Ash Wednesday. The beginning of the season of Lent: a period of 40 days, not including Sundays, where we are reminded of the sacrifice that Christ gave to us. This is a time where we think about fasting – meat, chocolate, alcohol. But it’s also a time of reflection, a time of renewal, a time of repentance.
To repent means to return to God. We can return to God through adding in a daily practice each day. These reflections will be a part of my daily practice throughout lent.
This handy list of reflection words caught my eyes. The word for this first day of Lent is Led.
Led – v. past and past participle of lead.
Lead – v. 1. cause (a person or animal) to go with one by holding them by the hand, a halter, a rope, etc. while moving forward. 2. be a route or means of access to a particular place or in a particular direction. 3. be in charge of or command of. 4. have the first place in (a competition); be ahead of (competitors). 5. have or experience (a particular way of life).dictionary.com
Led is past tense, and I cannot think of the word “led” without thinking of the word “lead”. What has led me here today; to the career path I am in; to the community I choose to be a part of; to the plans I have for the future. And that being said, how does where I have found myself relate to how I lead others.
One of the many ideas in leadership is that you do not have to be “the boss” to be a leader, which means that we are all capable of being a leader to someone.
As a pastor, I think about how people look up to me to lead them. It’s an incredible weight to carry, and some days, I think I get it right, and others, I’m not so sure. What I hope is that I am leading with authenticity. And I am reminded that I am in this role because of the same weight that was on the shoulders of others who led me here.
There were several pastors who were leaders to me, and not all of them were MY pastors, but pastors I knew, pastors I experienced one time, pastors I worked with, and pastors who became my friends. All of them led me through discipleship.
I know that one definition of discipleship is to be a follower of Christ. Why yes, they let me to finding my own discipleship, but what I said was they led me THROUGH discipleship. They walked by my side. They cared about me, about my family, about my struggles and about my celebrations. I would not have found myself in this journey without that!
As you read this reflection, I hope that I have sparked a reflection in you. Who has been a leader for you. Who has led you to the place you find yourself today? How has God been about that journey? I hope that, like mine, God has been at the center.