Responding to Lent

I’m in the middle of Madeleine L’Engle’s The Irrational Season and am in the midst of her chapter on Lent. It is this season when Christians stop, slow down and reflect on the why of Jesus’ sacrifice. L’eagle comments that it is also, appropriately, in the midst of the dreariness of winter, when we are anticipating spring and all its promise.

Often, Lent is associated with giving up. It’s a time to remember sacrifice. Others add something – an act of service or a way of giving back to draw nearer to the message of Jesus. I’ve done both and, in each season, have been moved and changed by those actions.

This year, I’m in a quieter place. Lent can be tough since – for us – it’s in the midst of tax season, a time of giving up and sacrifice as a family anyway. It’s also tough to add in the midst of newborn life. But, that doesn’t mean I don’t want to observe and honor this season of preparation.

Last year, I took social media apps off my phone. I still checked in via the computer, but this was much less often and much more intentional. This year, I think I’ll do the same, though I’ll replace them with my Bible Gateway app. They have a Lenten study that I can read while nursing Elle – when it’s nice to have something to occupy my thoughts and an actual book can be awkward.

Taking an idea from L’Engle, I’ll also be reflecting on the Beatitudes over the coming 40 days. I don’t want to put a rule on how I’ll do it but, I’m envisioning spending a few days or a week or so on each and reflecting or drawing or creating something based on what comes to mind. I’m excited to see where this goes – if nothing else, reflecting on this set of verses will be enlightening.

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 5:1-12

12662035_580306472138680_5379470499159502870_nOther Ideas:

  • Last year I listed Five Ideas for Lent.
  • Katelin at By Their Strange Fruit has a comprehensive list on Disciplines for Racial Justice, ranging from fasting to service to prayer.
  • Even though it started as something for Black History Month, Cara Meredith’s Reading For Change Challenge could easily be carried through Lent. (I’m reading Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Purple Hibiscus. Look for a discussion post later this month!)
  • For Instagrammers and/or photographers, these prompts from RethinkChurch.org may be helpful in creating Lenten images.

Do you observe Lent? Do you give up or add or do something completely different? How do you prepare yourself for Easter?

Note: As part of Bible Gateway’s Blogger Grid, I’ve agreed to write about their website periodically.