Lent is here. Lent is a season in the church calendar that runs from Ash Wednesday up to Easter Sunday. It traditionally marks the 40 days (minus Sundays) that Jesus spent in the wilderness. It is a time to reconsider where are lives are headed, where we make room for God, and think about changes we might want to make to how we are living. Lent can be a powerful time. It can renew us as we take time out to find God in the midst of our daily lives. I offer you the following Lenten calendar, a spiritual practice for each week to engage your faith life through Lent. Put it on your fridge or mirror or as a reminder on your phone.
Week One: Prayer (3/10-3/16)
Set aside 10 minutes every day to pray. It can be early morning, lunch time, before bed. Remember the many kinds of prayer: thanksgiving, petitions, intercessory (prayers for others), adoration (worship). How do you experience God when you are praying?
Week Two: Fasting (3/17-3/23)
Consider an “entertainment fast.” Turn off the television, radio, tablet, phone when not using for calls, Alexa and other electronics for a week. How do these things get in the way of faith or connection to others? What might God be saying to you in the silence?
Week Three: Compassion (3/24-3/30)
Part of our faith walk is how we reach out to others, especially the “least of these.” How can you express compassion? Go to the grocery store and shop expressly for the food pantry instead of yourself or family. Write a card to someone you know who is having a hard time or is unable to come to church. How might having a compassionate heart change your everyday life?
Week Four: Forgiveness (3/31-4/6)
We all have people in our lives we need to forgive. Take time this week to write a letter to a person you need/want to forgive. They may be living or not. You may or may not want to or be able to send the letter. Where do you feel God in the process of forgiveness?
Week Five: Renewal (4/7-4/13)
Take a walk each day this week even if it is short. Notice any signs of renewal? What changes day to day? Consider clipping a branch of forsythia and putting it in a vase or bringing home a pot of bulbs from the store. What is God renewing in your life? Deliver a second pot of bulbs or bunch of flowers to a friend or neighbor.
Week Six: Patience (4/14-4/20)
Spend the week practicing patience. Let others cut you off in traffic. Choose the longest line at the store and use the time for prayer for those in line ahead of you. Imagine the seeds of spring patiently waiting to sprout. Breathe. Breathe. How do you see God being patient with you, with the world? How are you patient with yourself, the world?
May your time with God throughout the Lenten season bring a measure of peace to your soul.