The concept of travelling through Lent looking at The Way of……is not new!
Brian Draper used it a couple of years ago for his series of Lent Reflections, choosing a different theme for each day. This series will not be as ambitious! Instead of a daily reflection, it will provide a weekly Written Reflection, from Ash Wednesday until Holy Week, with each one beginning with the letter ‘P’.
After he had shared the Passover/Last Supper with his disciples, Jesus explained to them that, “I am the Way the Truth and the Life.” (John 14:6 TPT) As we seek to follow his Way, walk in his truth and experience the abundant life that he offers, there are a number of spiritual practices that will help us to do so. Many of these are in stark contrast to the hustle and bustle of the current culture and will help us to “cease striving and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10 NASB). For example, slowing down and endeavouring to eliminate hurry, taking time for stillness, silence and meditation.
We begin the journey with The Way of Purpose.
The season of Lent is observed in many Christian denominations. It lasts for forty days (46 to be precise, but Sundays are not usually included!) and starts on Ash Wednesday. The purpose of Lent is to provide a time of reflection and preparation for Easter. Traditionally it was a time when new believers were prepared for baptism on Easter Saturday.
Lent provides an opportunity to move away, to some extent, from the hurry and haste of our busy lives, to slow down, to make time to deepen our faith and to consider the values of the Kingdom of God.
“Most of us are under pressure, external and internal, to do everything, be good at everything, be accountable to everyone for everything! It is not so. In the divine economy each of us has a particular grace, gift and devotion. Finding out what that is, and learning how to be guilt-free about not doing everything else, may be part of what our Lenten journey is for.” Malcolm Guite, The Word in the Wilderness.
There are many resources available to encourage and facilitate our Journey through Lent. Here are three which I have used and found beneficial:
- Brian Draper will “focus on key Lenten themes; we try simple daily actions to put ideas into practice; and we report back through the popular RSVP section. We maintain an intimate one-to-one feel – yet the shared wisdom of the group as a whole creates an experience which is far greater than the sum of its parts.”
- Loyola Press produce resources each year for Lent
- A different approach is taken by 40Acts. Its purpose is to provide a generosity challenge for Lent. “For ten years, 40acts has asked a question: what if Lent could be about more than just giving stuff up? What if it could be a time of radical generosity as well as spiritual discipline? Over the years, 40acts has become a movement of over 100,000 people on a mission to impact their communities with generosity – during Lent and beyond.” You can sign up here.
However you choose to mark the season of Lent this year, may it prepare you to celebrate Easter.
“As the best way to appreciate a sunrise is to be there in the darkness before dawn, so the only way to appreciate Easter is to have come to it through Lent. We as Christians are, of course, an Easter people living in a Good Friday world.” Revd. Canon J John