Lent begins on Ash Wednesday tomorrow. Traditionally, this is the time of year when Christians remember Christ’s 40 days of temptation in the wilderness, and use that time to reflect on our own sinfulness. The Sundays between now and Easter aren’t part of the fasting time, they are feast days when we remember the joy of our salvation through the resurrection of Christ.
There are many ways you could choose to mark the season of Lent – and almost all of them have absolutely nothing to do with chocolate! ‘Giving something up’ reflects the old practice of fasting during Lent – denying yourself some of the everyday pleasures or luxuries of life, in order to focus more on God. Perhaps a good contemporary equivalent might be giving up time on the computer or TV. Try a screen-free week? Or a screen-free day every week? A few years ago, I went off all social media during Lent and it was a very powerful experience. But you don’t have to give something up, instead you could decide to take up something new: a new habit, a new spiritual discipline, or a new challenge. Here are some ideas for that:
LEARNING TO DREAM AGAIN
Learning to Dream Again is the book which the Diocese are encouraging people to read during Lent this year. It’s made up of six chapters, each of which has half a dozen short sections, ideal to read just a few pages each day during Lent. If you’d like to read the book, copies are still available from the Diocese for just £5.
To go along with the book, there are study materials for small groups, for adults and for children. Have a look at the Facebook page for more information and download resources here.
There will also be visual devotions on Instagram and Twitter – follow me (@lfonlinepastor) or just check the hashtag #ltdalent. Please feel free to use the hashtag if you’re engaging with any of the resources and want to share your thoughts, questions or comments.
Lindsay Hall is also going to be blogging through the month, reflecting on various films and other contemporary culture related to the themes of the book. Follow her here.
And finally, the TGI Monday team are going to discuss some of the issues in the book in a couple of our episodes during Lent. We’d love you to share your thoughts or questions with us. The first section we’ll be tackling is Who Are You? and that episode will be on Mon 22nd February.
Even if you’re not reading the book itself, please do feel free to follow along with some of the other resources and engage in the discussions.
OTHER LENT IDEAS
40: a series of Lent Bible readings based around the theme of 40.
40acts: 40 days of giving back, doing good, living generously.
Try Praying: a free 7-day prayer guide designed for those who are not religious. Why not give a copy to a friend and challenge them to try praying this Lent.
Team Stafford to Calais: a team from Stafford Uni will be going to Calais this weekend. Donations should be taken to the Signpost Centre, Auden Way, Stafford ST17 9TX, until 11am Fri 12th Feb. They are asking for:
NON PERISHABLE FOODS e.g.
1ltr bottles cooking oil
1kg bags rice (45p each from Tescos!)
Tinned food – ring pulls ONLY
Blankets & duvets
Large Tarpaulin sheets (at least 9sqm)
Please do NOT bring these items (they aren’t eaten or take too long to cook):
● Dried beans or baked beans
● Baby formula milk
We’d also be grateful for empty plastics bags to make individual food packs.