We enter into Lent in a year when we are particularly caught up in the news, the “doings” and “stuff” of life, forgetting that Lent is a time to refocus so that our words, actions, and deeds reflect the image of Christ.
When I was a kid, I was always asked, “What are you giving up for Lent?” Then in Pilgrim Fellowship, remember that old Congregational youth group, they introduced the concept of taking on something instead of giving up something. The connection between Lent and fasting comes from Jesus’ time in the wilderness when he fasted 40 days in preparation for his ministry. Many people choose to fast or give up something during the 40 days of Lent to help them remember the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross. Others make a change in their lifestyle--service or prayer--with the purpose of letting God change their hearts.
I invite you to join me in discovering a deeper relationship with Christ during this Lenten season and encourage you to share your experience with others. We grow in our faith when we enter into community and are connected to God’s people.
You may choose a form of fasting sometime during the Lenten season. Although fasting entire meals is an option, it isn’t the only way to fast. What do you need to let go of or “fast” from in order to focus on God? What clutters your calendar and life? How can you simplify your life in terms of what you eat, wear, or do?
You may choose to take something on during Lent with the purpose of benefiting others and bringing you closer to Christ. Service may include hunger ministry, notes of encouragement, service to others, finding ways to help where needed. Need is all around. All it takes is an open heart to find it.
Christians also use Lent as a time of intentional prayer, a time to become more in tune with God. Establish a time of daily Bible reading or prayer, even if it means getting up a few minutes earlier. Pick up a copy of the Daily Bread in the narthex and commit to actually reading it each day. Get outside on these beautiful days! Commit to spending at least 20 minutes a day walking, meditating, taking pictures, etc. Expand your prayer life.
Although Lent is a season in which we refocus our lives, growing closer to Christ doesn’t need a specific time or place to be initiated. Simply begin.
Peace and grace,