Looking forward to Lent

Posted: February 3, 2016 by leighannegreenwood in Lent

I’m sure that for many people the idea of looking forward to Lent is a strange one. Either it’s a strange and slightly archaic custom not worth bothering with, or it’s a time of begrudging sacrifice and discipline, or it’s a prolonged period of feeling guilty for not being sacrificial or disciplined enough.

I know I’ve fallen into all three camps at various points. And yet I’ve never been able to shake off the feeling that it is somehow important.

Lent is of course the period that runs between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday, and is meant to recall the period of forty days that Jesus spent in the wilderness, hence the traditional emphasis on prayer and fasting. The problem is if we leave it there it is as dry as the desert.

It is not supposed to be a time of empty ritual or self-inflicted punishment or uneasy guilt. Instead it is an opportunity to really focus our hearts and minds and bodies as we prepare to remember the cross and celebrate the empty tomb.

We all need a little focus from time to time, and it seems particularly appropriate that we should be coming up to Lent as we are thinking about patterns of prayer and spirituality and rest, and so I pray that for all of us this Lent will be a time of drawing closer to God as we reflect on and nurture our rhythm of life.

And now to get a bit practical, as Lent is now only a week away. Hopefully those of you who are part of our facebook group will already know that we are planning to follow our Advent blog with a Lent blog, which means I am looking for contributions to be sent to reviveleeds@gmail.com.

There’s no fixed theme this time, we’re just after reflections or materials that might act as a prompt for prayer or action. That could be a song, a poem, a website, something you’ve written or drawn…and it would be lovely to have some contributions from children too.

Having made that plea, I want to get the ball rolling by sharing two resources that you may want to make use of as a series throughout Lent. There is something really wonderful about drawing on the wisdom of the community, as we discovered over Advent, so I don’t intend for these to supersede the blog before it’s even begun, but hope that they will sit alongside it and may even inspire some of our own contributions.

40acts is created by Stewardship and gives a different suggestion for how to live generously each day through Lent. You will need to check back each day for details of the suggested act but you can also follow them on Facebook and Twitter for prompts. And if you register with them for free you can access all sort of resources including a wall chart for families.

40thoughts has been created by Tim Watson and is just what it claims to be, 40 thoughts to inspire you through Lent. Some have clear suggestions for action and some are prompts for reflection, but they are all very brief and open to where you want to take them. I’ve put them into a single image with dates, if that is helpful.

40thoughts.jpg

And finally, in order to get Lent to forty days, it seems the Sundays don’t count. I really wish someone had told me that the year I decided to give up bread and biscuits, but at least I know now. That does however mean that keeping track of what day we’re supposed to be one can get tricky, so I’ve put together a guide so you don’t have to.

Day 1                     Wednesday February 10th

Day 2                     Thursday February 11th

Day 3                     Friday February 12th

Day 4                     Saturday February 13th

Day 5                     Monday February 15th

Day 6                     Tuesday February 16th

Day 7                     Wednesday February 17th

Day 8                     Thursday February 18th

Day 9                     Friday February 19th

Day 10                   Saturday February 20th

Day 11                   Monday February 22nd t

Day 12                   Tuesday February 23rd

Day 13                   Wednesday February 24th

Day 14                   Thursday February 25th

Day 15                   Friday February 26th

Day 16                   Saturday February 27th

Day 17                   Monday February 29th

Day 18                   Tuesday March 1st

Day 19                   Wednesday March 2nd

Day 20                   Thursday March 3rd

Day 21                   Friday March 4th

Day 22                   Saturday March 5th

Day 23                   Monday March 7th

Day 24                   Tuesday March 8th

Day 25                   Wednesday March 9th

Day 26                   Thursday March 10th

Day 27                   Friday March 11th

Day 28                   Saturday March 12th

Day 29                   Monday March 14th

Day 30                   Tuesday March 15th

Day 31                   Wednesday March 16th

Day 32                   Thursday March 17th

Day 33                   Friday March 18th

Day 34                   Saturday March 19th

Day 35                   Monday March 21st

Day 36                   Tuesday March 22nd

Day 37                   Wednesday March 23rd

Day 38                   Thursday March 24th

Day 39                   Friday March 25th

Day 40                   Saturday March 26th

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