By: Karen True
“I was first introduced to Lent by a patient at the hospital where I volunteered during high school. He was in traction and had a sign posted on his door that read, “I gave up walking for Lent.”
The traditions of Lent were different from those I knew. We celebrated Easter as the high point of the year, yet I’ve learned that Lent offers a meaningful way to reflect on Christ’s journey to the cross. Lenten traditions include fasting, prayer and repentance and conclude with Holy Week leading up to Easter. The season begins on Ash Wednesday, which falls on March 9 this year. I invite you to accept this invitation to pause, ponder, sacrifice and serve during Lent this year.
PAUSE: Fat Tuesday Pancakes
The day before the start of Lent is called Fat Tuesday, and pancakes are often served to use up any remaining eggs or dairy products which might be part of a “fast” for the season. Host a pancake party to celebrate the start of this journey of reflection and renewal. You can provide the pancakes and ask guests to bring the fixings: syrup, butter, berries, bananas, granola, etc. This offers a fun setting in which to introduce the season of Lent and some its traditions using the ideas below. Use this time to begin this season of reflection by reading from one of the devotionals below, or one of the recommended reads and by inviting others to join in some of the other observances listed here.
PONDER: 40 Days of Devotionals for Lent
The Lenten Season includes 40 weekdays leading up to Easter. Sundays are not included because they are days to celebrate the resurrection. Follow along with the 40 Days of Devotionals via the links we’ve provided to Ray Stedman’s online devotionals. We’ve chosen topics that relate specifically to this season including repentance, forgiveness and Christ’s final words to His disciples. Also, here are some recommended reads for the season:
- The Jesus I Never Knew by Philip Yancey
- He Chose the Nails by Max Lucado
- No Wonder they Call Him the Savior by Max Lucado
SACRIFICE: A Lenten Fast
Encourage individuals and families to observe Lent by choosing something they will give up for Lent. A fast might include something other than food ((chocolate, computer time, one meal a day, etc.). The idea is to refocus our attention on Christ’s sacrifice by making a meaningful sacrifice of our own. Families might participate by doing this together so even children can choose something they might give up for the season.
SERVE: A Time to Give
We think of Christ’s death on the cross as only a sacrifice, yet it is more. It is also a gift. Offering an opportunity for the women in your ministry to give and serve others during this season is another way to remember Christ’s great gift to us. Invite women to serve at a local domestic violence shelter, collect needed items for a crisis pregnancy center, or offer another way for women to give as Christ has given to us.
God gave His people feasts which they celebrated every year to remember what He had done for them. The symbols of Lent help us remember the greatest gift the world has ever known. “
Live in Love,