“Lent is a space in time in which we are called to stop whatever we are doing, no matter how important it might be, and enter more intentionally into the disciplines of prayer, self-examination and repentance. But these disciplines—as significant as they are—are not ends in themselves. They are a means to an end and that end is that we would return to God with all our hearts.” Ruth Haley Barton
Throughout the Scriptures God used moments of forty to work in the lives of His people. To test. To renew. To grow. To direct. Forty designated a time when God engaged humanity in exceptional, memorable and life-transforming ways. Our desire is for God to do something extraordinary in our lives during this moment of forty spent in devotion to Him. The season of Lent is a time for reflection, repentance, and renewal – when Christians are invited to prepare themselves spiritually for the celebration of the resurrection of Christ. It is a season of soul-searching and repentance. It is a season for reflection and taking stock. Its purpose is to create space in our lives to experience God. The sacrifices God wants are not mere outward Lenten rituals, but rather broken and contrite hearts that are being trained to live in attentive responsiveness to his work and will in our lives (Psm. 51).
Lent 2018 begins Wednesday, February 14 (Ash Wednesday) and ends Thursday, March 29.
Online Lent Resources:
Biola University: http://ccca.biola.edu/lent/2017/#day-mar-2
The Transforming Center: http://thetransformingcenter.org/
Traditionally the practices of fasting, generosity, and prayer have been long associated with Lent.
Questions to Ponder:
How will I fast? (What do I need to abstain from in order to create more space for God?)
How is my life unfolding? Is this the way I want to live?
How might I serve others?
How might I give generously and selflessly?
Who do I need to forgive and from whom do I need to seek forgiveness?
Practices to Consider:
- Observe a fast for 40 days which creates space to connect with God.
- Journey weekly through a Lent resource with others.
- Engage in ways to give generously and serving in our community.
- Host a Sunday celebration meal with your neighbors or others.
- Attend the Good Friday Service on April 14th at 6:30PM.
A Way Other Than Our Own by Walter Brueggmann
Falling Into Goodness by Chuck DeGroat
Small Surrenders by Emilie Griffin
Show Me The Way: Daily Lenten Readings by Henri Houwen
A Prayer for Entering into Lent
“How often have I lived through these weeks without paying much attention to penance, fasting, and prayer? How often have I missed the spiritual fruits of the season without even being aware of it? But how can I ever really celebrate Easter without observing Lent? How can I rejoice fully in your Resurrection when I have avoided participating in your death?
Yes, Lord, I have to die—with you, through you, and in you—and thus become ready to recognize you when you appear to me in your Resurrection.
There is so much in me that needs to die: false attachments, greed and anger, impatience and stinginess…. I see clearly now how little I have died with you, really gone your way and been faithful to it.
O Lord, make this Lenten season different from the other ones.
Let me find you again. Amen.”
Nouwen, Henri (2002). A Cry for Mercy: Prayers from the Genesee. Image Books.