In the Church calendar, the season of Lent is a time when we symbolically journey with Christ toward the cross. We examine our hearts, our minds and our souls to recognize all that is not right within us. In this journey of 40 days and 40 nights, we meditate on the savior who came into the world to serve and gave his life for us.
Theologian Alexander Schmemann puts it this way: Lent “is a school of repentance to which every Christian must go every year in order to deepen his faith, to re-evaluate, and if possible, to change his life.” Each year on the church calendar, we enroll in a class of reflection and repentance. We accept an invitation to stop in the midst of the chaos of our lives to listen to the gentle whisper of the Spirit calling us back to the journey of discovering new life.
Often Christians have used spiritual practices like prayer, fasting, and Bible study to help them re-tune their ears to God’s voice. Take a moment to watch this short reflection by Father James Martin about almsgiving and joy in Lent:
In Lent, we practice the discipline of giving up something so that we can devote ourselves more fully to pursuing God’s will for our lives. Here’s a simple way you can reflect on this personally:
On a sheet of paper, make two columns. In the first column, write down 2 -3 things you want to let go of during the season of Lent. These could be feelings (i.e. bitterness, resentment, fear) or habits (i.e. extra desserts, impulse buying, etc.). In the second column, write down what you are going to practice now that you’ve freed up room in your heart or in your life. For example, you write something as challenging as “letting go of resentment so you can ask someone for forgiveness” or maybe you will “spend less time in front of the TV so I can spend more time reading the Bible.”
Lent is a journey we travel not just as individuals, but as a community. We hope you will participate in a small group, attend one of our special services, or join a mission project as a way for you to find meaning and joy this year.