REHAB: A Lenten Journey
REHAB is a word that can refer to many different things. Just a quick glance through the Wikipedia article on rehabilitation, or “rehab,” points to issues ranging from health (cognitive rehab, wildlife rehab, drug rehab, occupational rehab, physical rehab, psychiatric rehab, vision rehab, vocational rehab) to politics (restoration of disgraced politicians) to home improvement (Rehab Addict!). In general, the word rehabilitate means to restore to a condition of good health, ability to work; to restore to good condition or operation; or to restore a person’s reputation.
Similarly, the annual observance of the Lenten discipline among Christians is a time to seek restoration for our lives. It is a time to reflect, take stock of our spiritual condition, and realign our lives. We entered this season through the Ash Wednesday call “in the name of the church, to observe a holy Lent: by self-examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting, and self-denial; and by reading and meditating on God’s Holy Word”. As we contemplate the method of Lent, even the spiritually mature among us become aware of how out of step we are with where we are called to be. We all have work to do.
There is much to mine from considering our Lenten journey this year within the frame of rehab, much to explore, much to learn. But the core of the learning in rehab, like the core of the learning in Lent, isn’t cognitive. It’s behavioral. In rehab, we learn how to live differently, to set a “new normal” for ourselves and our relationships after a period of time or perhaps a crisis has made it clear to us it is impossible to live as we had before. Our goal for all who engage this period of time is that the way of Jesus becomes either the “new normal,” or, for those who have been consistent in the journey over time, is strengthened as our normal.
It is with that sense of gratitude and hope of a journey well-begun that we enter Holy Week. All of what has come before has prepared us to walk through this final leg of the journey with Christ and his church, through his suffering, execution, death, burial… and finally, after all of that, his resurrection.
May this REHAB acronym be helpful in your journey:
R – Recognize sin
E – Engage in new behavior
H – Help from the Holy Spirit
A – Acceptance of grace & forgiveness
B – Born again into a new person
Thanks for joining me on this REHAB adventure this Lenten season.
In Christ’s Service
 The United Methodist Book of Worship. Nashville: The United Methodist Publishing House, 1992, 322 from The Book of Common Prayer,1979, Public Domain