For centuries many Christians have observed Lent as a special season of renewal leading up to Easter Sunday. This 40 day period is symbolic of Jesus’ 40 days in the desert prior to the beginning of His ministry. Lent is meant to be a time of cleansing, refreshing, and refocusing. It’s a time of saying “no” to so many of the things that can distract us and draw us away from God, so that we can focus on saying “yes” to Him and drawing near to Him. Lent is observed from Ash Wednesday to Maundy Thursday (March 2-April 14 this year).
We are inviting the entire church to spend this season being more intentional in practicing spiritual disciplines together. During this time, all are invited to observe a special time of self-examination and repentance through prayer, fasting, reading and meditating on the Scriptures, and abstaining from things that distract us from seeking the Lord.
We’ve outlined some ideas below and chosen a reading plan for us to follow together as a church. Leading up to this season, ask the Lord how He might have you focus on Him and then make a plan to do so. It will be hard, but it will be worth it and you will grow!
We will be following the Daily Lectionary Office from the Book of Common Prayer for our readings. Every day includes a section from the Old Testament, the Gospels, and the New Testament. You can read and reflect on the Scriptures on your own, or you can sign up at the bottom of this page to be placed in a text group with others from the church. In these groups, each member will read and then send a text of something they noticed or are taking away from that day’s reading to the others in the group. It’s a great source of accountability, an excellent way to get to know some others in the church, and it adds other perspectives to your Bible reading. Fill out the form at the bottom of this page if you would like to join one and find the reading plan here!
In addition to the reading selections listed above, the Daily Lectionary also has morning and evening readings from the Psalms to help guide us in prayer. Spend extra time in this season talking and listening to the Lord. This is one of the best ways we learn to be with Him and are shaped into the kind of people He intends for us to be.
Fasting is simply going without food. It’s a spiritual discipline that can help turn your physical body into an ally in righteousness instead of an enemy. Not eating is hard and it teaches us how to suffer well. It also gives us time that we would spend eating to be with the Lord. Whether you decide to try skipping a meal once or fast sun up to sundown through the entire Lenten season (excluding Sundays, as they are always days of celebrating and feasting!), we encourage all who are physically able to participate in this often overlooked spiritual discipline with us. Ask the Lord how He might have you fast.
There are so many things in our lives that can distract us from seeking the Lord . Many of them aren’t bad in and of themselves, but during this season of focus and renewal, many will decide to abstain from or heavily limit things like social media, television, games, and the like. We can become so consumed with lesser stories, that we forget God and fail. Our lives can become old again. As we learn to be with God again and enjoy Him, you might ask Him what He would have you put away and/or limit during this season so that you can devote more time and attention to Him.
Remember to make a plan for how you are going to observe this season and give yourself grace. If you mess up your fast or miss a few days of Bible reading, don’t give up! This is not a way of earning your salvation or impressing God. It’s a time of nourishing our souls and getting to Him better. Let’s grow together!