lent means spring so it was nice to see some crocuses and daffodils out and magnolia starting to appear as i walked this morning. it's a season of year i love both for spring and for lent...
lent in the season of the church's year is a preparation for easter. people interpret it in different ways and do different things. but broadly speaking my assessment of it is that for many it has become a time of year for a focused reflection on faith and what that means. grace, the community i am part of, always have some kind of focus which includes regular meals, conversation and prayer for example and that usually includes exploring a theme or a book together. this year following january's grace which explored themes of soil, soul and scociety we are all being encouraged to take up a practice or practices in one or more of those three areas. and there are a series of gatherings and meals related to those themes. here's the blurb that got sent round
Most things are helped by practise - music, sport, craft, skills. When it comes to faith it's the same - prayer say takes practise. Lent is a chance to try out a new practice (or more).You could pick a practice in each of the areas of soul, society, soil. Or just one (or indeed none - there is no pressure to - it’s not a guilt trip so it's fine to just be). But if you want to then we look forward to seeing what people might come up with and indeed finding what people do anyway. Here are a few suggestions if you are stuck for ideas:
Pray - try a regular time of silence, or use the examen, or try active prayer (when you walk, run, swim…)
Read - we suggest the story of Jesus in Mark's gospel - see below for a couple of chapters each week that if several people followed would mean it was a shared practice. You could try lectio divina or the Ignation way of reading (google them).
Sign up for an email - we could share suggestions in whatsapp but by way of example Richard Rohr sends one out weekly or Enneagram Institute do a daily email for your personality type.
Get outside in whatever way works - walking, cycling, running, gardening.
Think of a small action you can do to help the planet and add that into your lifestyle.
Grow something - spring is a great time for that
Mark’s gospel suggestion for reading plan -
W/c 25 Feb Mark 1+2
W/c 2 March Mark 3 + 4
W/c 9 March Mark 5 + 6
W/c 16 March Mark 7 + 8
W/c 23 March Mark 9 + 10
W/c 30 March Mark 11 + 12 + 13
W/c 6 April Mark 14 + 15 + 16
lent kicks off today with ash wednesday where you can attend a service of ashing where ashes are marked on your forehead and the words 'you are dust and to dust you shall return. turn away from sin and be faithful to christ' are spoken to you. i need to hear that call away from my shadow, my dark side, my own selfishness and to follow in the way of christ whose way is so inspiring and heed the call towards being the best version of me that can shine in the world. i will be attending a service this evening to hear and respond to that call.
the internet has really made lent boom i think because it means so many people are sharing their ideas or resources which you can jump into. the challenge is that there is a lot around so you need to choose. it could easily end up being exhausting or unfocused or both - less is probably more.
it's probably a bit late now and you may already be sorted but a couple of things i noticed...
a poem a day podcast from martin wroe. i loved the lifelines book and we used it in our weekly tuesday group to explore themes chosen by different people. and it so happens that the first poet on there is none other than harry baker who is currently on tour round the uk!
cms have produced a resource on lament. it feels like the state of the world calls for plenty of lament, not least the state of the church which continues to feel so flawed. the news of jean vanier's abuse left me reeling this week.
proost as ever are producing creative things and they too are in the physical object mode sending lent letters to your door which i am sure will be delightful. sign up quick though.
i am sure you know of other things but if you choose to use lent as a season of reflection on life and faith go well. turn and be faithful!