Since the 4th century Christians have been practicing a season of penitence and self-denial as a way to understand the significance of the costly sacrifice made by God through his Son Jesus Christ on behalf of humanity. The hoped-for outcome at the end of this time was always a pinnacle moment of celebration in the church–the feast of Resurrection Sunday, now known as Easter.
As a youth growing up in the Roman tradition these seasons of Lent were at times physically painful. I have memories of gathering in the parking lot of the church, praying on our knees, and “walking” on our knees all the way inside the church into our pews where we remained on our knees for the next hour and a half.
It hurt. It also helped me understand that what I was doing was nothing compared to what Jesus went through for me. It was powerful.
The following 5 ideas are a different take on preparation during Lent. Living Stones Church wants to encourage you to take on something that will help you get closer to God. It doesn’t have to be painful or punitive. Choose one for all your days in Lent and let your Sundays in Lent culminate with a joyful celebration in anticipation of the Risen Christ.
- Walk for 30 minutes carrying a cross in your hand. Time your walk so that the final five minutes are (safely) in the dark. Make sure you are walking in a safe place.
- Set up a prayer station using a basin, a pitcher with water and a candle. At the same time each day (whatever time is best for you) sit at this prayer station and remember your baptism. Light the candle. Pour water over your hands. Stir your hands in the basin and imagine what someone will be experiencing when they are baptized on Easter Sunday. Have the water at different temperatures from day to day. You need not spend more than five minutes.
- Write a letter a day. Select 40 persons in your life to whom you want to send this one-page letter. In the letter, tell them how they have made your life better and thank them for it. Mail the letter!
- Ask a friend to read the Chronicles of Narnia with you. Meet weekly to share what each of you is learning.
- Each day select something in your home that you can donate. Make sure it’s something you’re hesitant to let go because if you’re glad to get rid of it then you’re missing the point.
Have a blessed Lent!