Lent is a gift to the church. It’s a time of training. It’s a chance for us to discipline ourselves, of getting ourselves ready for activity. It’s not the activity itself. It’s part of an annual rhythm. A time of preparation.
Traditionally it was a time of preparation for Easter and for baptism. A time to make sure that our lives are aligned with the King whose name we bear. And that’s why the traditions include fasting, prayer, silence, confession, and study.
To be honest though, we’ve all had enough of being in lockdown. We long for things to open up again. Do we really want another 40 days of getting ready?
Well, maybe not. But perhaps this year we will be able to take up Lent in a way we haven’t ever before. There is a new chapter ahead for all of us. We will soon be returning to a new way of living. Perhaps precisely what we need is to get ready.
Without the distractions of activity and the enforced constraint on our relationships might be possible that we can perhaps have a go at Lent like never before?
Choice | Habits | Character | Destiny
Choosing to participate in the disciplines of Lent can bear so much fruit for us because it turns out that 40 days is enough time to develop new habits that stick.
It also turns out that habits, over time, lead to the development of our character. We are the sum of all the little things we do each day.
And it is character, ultimately, that shapes our destiny.
So, if we want to change our destiny, our future, then it makes sense to start with choosing some new habits. Lent offers us this choice.
Here are a few specific suggestions
- Start with Ash Wednesday Communion
Join others for a service of prayer, readings and communion next Wednesday evening at 7.30pm
- Join others and read ‘The Resilient Disciple’ each day.
- Join Mike Fox on a pilgrimage to Golgotha, reading through Mark’s gospel, on Thursday mornings
- Get your journal out and spend a set time with God, writing, praying, each day, each week
- Make a fast to help you connect and stretch you.
- Start each day with LECTIO365 or ORBIT
If you’d like to give it a try here are a few suggestions:
Make a plan
Start by doing your research and asking God what discipline to centre on. Once you have an idea, make a plan and write it down. Writing it down will increase the chance of you following it through significantly.
Share your plan with someone else
Once you have a plan and have chosen a spiritual habit to participate in, tell someone else. This will further increase your own desire and ability to follow through on your plan. It will also encourage your friend to join you in making their own plan.
Review how it’s going each week
Use Sunday each week, to review how you are going. It’s not a competition, and it’s not about perfection. It’s about the journey. Be persistent. Admit it when you fail and move on.
A LENT PRAYER
You search out my path and my lying down. You are aquatinted with all my ways. Examine me. See if there is any wicked way within me and lead me in the way everlasting. Amen