It’s hard for me to believe but Lent is here. How did that happen so fast?
This 40-day journey called Lent is a wonderful opportunity to grow in your faith. Make it a time for self-reflection and spiritual discovery.
During our Ash Wednesday services on the first day of Lent, we will hold a service where you will be invited 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.
There is no one prescribed way. We all engage with God in different ways, but the important thing is that Lent is a significant time to truly seek God’s will for our lives. It is a time to confront our sinfulness, remember our mortality, and give thanks for the gift of salvation we receive through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Fasting: Give something up for Lent. Consider not just abstaining from food items. Give up social media, shopping, or something else through the season. Use that time to reorient yourself away from distractions so you can focus on God. Use that time to focus on devotional practices like Bible study and prayer during the season.
Bible reading: Many do not know where to begin when reading the Bible. The Upper Room Daily Devotional Guide can help guide you in this pursuit. Or start with one of the Gospels and read a chapter a day. Join the Lenten study on Wednesday night or the Bible study Wednesday morning. Start coming to Sunday School. Don’t know enough about the Bible? That’s no excuse…that’s what the classes are for!
Prayer: In the busyness of our everyday lives, prayer can sometimes get squeezed out. Lent is a wonderful time to intentionally work toward finding more time in your life for prayer. Pray the Psalms, a different Psalm each day. Go to the Prayer and healing service in March and April. Enriching your prayer life is a great way to spend Lent.
Service: Another way to observe a holy Lent is to take on a new way of serving. Join the Outreach Team. Sing in the choir or join the chimers. Start coming to the UMW meetings or the UMM breakfasts. Join us at Children’s Hospital on Easter afternoon. Volunteer for Respite or children’s Sunday School.
Rest: An important practice with which many of us struggle is the spiritual discipline of rest or Sabbath. I can say this with authority because your Pastor is not very good at it either!! You can start with just finding moments during an ordinary day to be still in God’s presence. You might choose to spend a few minutes during lunch with a desktop meditation, listen to Christian radio on your commute, or listen to one of my sermons on the website.
Don’t forget the Children: You will also want to find ways to share the meaning of the season with the children in your life. While their focus may be on Easter baskets, you can enter into special times to help them find deeper meaning to the season. Consider this: set aside money by making small “sacrifices” as a family, like skipping a weekly movie or meal out, and collecting the money saved each week. On Easter Sunday, donate the money to help people in your local community or across the globe. Or make instruments during Lent that you can use to celebrate the resurrection in song on Easter Sunday, similar to Christians in Zimbabwe.
And every day, let us all remember the mystery of faith during this Lenten season: Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again. May you all have a meaningful Lenten journey.
In Christ’s Name, Pastor Cheryl