Lent is upon us. What is Lent?
· Lent is the season of the church year when we prepare our hearts and minds to observe Holy Week (Maundy Thursday, Good Friday) and celebrate Easter.
· Lent begins on Ash Wednesday (March 1st) and lasts for 40 days, excluding Sundays.
· Lent is a time for prayer and fasting, recalling Jesus’ 40 days of prayer and fasting in the wilderness as he began his ministry.
· Lent is a time to repent, to ask forgiveness for the ways we have sinned against God and neighbor, and to seek reconciliation with those we have harmed.
· Lent is an opportunity to fast – to give up something in order to make room for time with God. You may fast in many ways - from Facebook, from dessert, or from eating out – and use the time to pray and the money to help others.
· Lent is an opportunity to give and to serve. Rather than fasting from something, you may choose to take on something instead – volunteer, bring food for the food bank, or visit someone who is lonely.
· Lent is a time to read scripture. There are daily devotionals available on the back table with prayers and scriptures for the season, or you may choose to use an app such as “Pray as you go” to guide your prayer and study.
· And as I have learned, the 40 days of Lent are enough days to build a new habit. What new habit would you like to nourish?
One new habit that I undertook during Lent many years ago was hymn reading. I found that quite often on Sundays I sang the words of the hymns without reading and understanding them. During Lent, I chose to open my hymnal to each of the hymns chosen for worship and carefully read the words. What are they saying? What is the prayer being offered? How do they enhance my understanding of the scriptures we heard proclaimed that day?
It is my prayer for us that we will use this Lenten season to draw closer to God. If you were with us on Ash Wednesday, we were invited to observe a “holy Lent.” Here are the words of invitation from our Book of Common Worship:
“I invite you, therefore, in the name of Christ, to observe a holy Lent by self-examination and penitence, by prayer and fasting, by works of love, and by reading and meditating on the Word of God.”
With prayers for a holy Lent,