My attitude toward Lent has matured over the years just as my relationship to God has matured. As a child I was encouraged to give up something for Lent every year. At first it was candy, in college it was smoking, as an adult a treasured morning latte. All were sacrifices at the time (especially the latte) but did they bring me closer to God? The answer is no!
In Micah and in Psalm 103, we find that God is a forgiving and compassionate God. Perhaps this is one of the messages for us during this Lenten season. When we look at ourselves, we probably find that we have many blessings and yet there are people near to us and in our own community that have far less to be thankful for. So rather than depriving ourselves of a luxury perhaps we should think about how we can share some of our blessings with those in need. We are fortunate that here at St. Paul's there are groups already in place to help out in the community. It is a matter of taking the first step in making contact with a group involved in a project of interest to us.
In Luke, forgiveness is for those who repent using as examples "the errant son" or the "wandering sheep". For many years I have thought about those unfortunate people who are in prison because of circumstances in their lives of which they had no control. The message in Luke seems to leave no doubt that we have an obligation to try in some way to help those people.
There are many possibilities. The most difficult task is making the first move to do something. It is impossible to save the world but we can start with small steps.