Praying about Addiction this Lent

18398Today, Ash Wednesday, marks the beginning of the season of Lent in the Christian calendar. Ash Wednesday is named for its central ritual – the imposing of ashes on the foreheads of believers in the shape of a cross. This cross is a penitential symbol that reminds us of our human frailty and, in light of that, of our need both for God and the season of self-reflection that follows Ash Wednesday – the forty days of Lent.

On January 24, I preached a sermon on addiction and invited us to spend time in prayer this Lent for this plague, this sin, that has so many in its deadly grip. I asked that we pray for ourselves, for those affected by addiction and for God’s heart leading us to think about how we might respond as a church community.

In August 2015, WKSU reported on how the heroin was ravaging whole communities in Ohio and on WKYC, Cuyahoga Falls firefighter and paramedic, Charles Kilbel, said “…if they use, they will die. It might not be tomorrow. But if they continue to use, at some point they will die.”

The number of deaths due to fentanyl and heroin overdose in Ohio in 2015 were staggering, as many as 4-5 people per week.

The Akron Beacon Journal showed statistics that debunk our assumptions about who succumbs to addiction – their gender, race, and age. Addiction affects all the demographic groups of our society – no one is immune. Indeed, many of the lives of First Church members have been touched by addiction.

I believe we need to begin to tell ours stories, to speak out and not to allow addiction to be a dirty secret we feel we need to bury along with the shame and trauma that so often accompany it. I am certain that as a church community we need to speak out declaring more clearly than ever God’s love for each person, God’s redemptive power and the grace that is available and join with the grassroots organizations that are seeking to bring hope and recovery.

Here are some of those resources and I look forward to hearing your thoughts during this Lenten season:

List Source: Akron Beacon Journal

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