“What’s that black stuff on your forehead?”
The ancient and often misunderstood season of Lent started on Wednesday. Millions of Christians around the world, my self included, kicked it off by lining up to get ashes smeared on our foreheads and to hear the person doing the smearing say to us “Remember you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” Not all Christians observe Ash Wednesday or Lent, but one of the reasons I treasure these traditions is that they point to a calling that I believe all followers of Jesus share, the call to make a habit out of doing things differently, what writer Michael Frost calls “Living ‘Questionable’ Lives.”
Michael Frost is a missiologist. He studies and writes about what Christians have done, and are doing, as well as should and should not do to share the life and message of Jesus Christ with the world. When Michael Frost talks about Christians living “questionable” lives he means living life in a way that will evoke questions. Questions kind of like “what’s that black stuff on your forehead?” Questions that will create opportunities for those who follow Jesus to share with other it is what they have come to know and treasure about him.
As meaningful as it may be to observe Ash Wednesday and/or choose to fast while everyone else is already digging into the Easter candy, the impact of these “questionable” behaviours are relatively superficial. But there are, as Frost sees it, 5 other habits which are deeply rooted in the Christian faith and which, if more followers of Jesus were to adopt, would not only get people asking questions but would make a substantial difference in people’s lives. They are habits which he claims would not only get people asking questions but would help followers of Jesus experience a deeper connection with God, a stronger sense of community, and have a more significant and positive impact in the lives of their neighbours. These 5 habits are: Bless people, Eat with people, Listen to the Spirit of God, Learn Jesus, and practice being Sent.
These habits are what Michael Frost’s book “Surprise the World” is all about, and starting this Sunday they are going to be the focus of a six-part preaching series taking place in each of the Anglican Parishes of the Upper Kennebecasis. If you are looking for a deeper connection with God, a stronger sense of community and the chance to help your neighbours experience these things too, then this series is for you.