02 March 2014

A Somber Celebration: Lent

Lent.

Unlike many other 'holidays,' this one is deeply personal and uniquely long.

Thanksgiving is loud and full and colorful.
Advent is a breathless balance of eagerness and peace.
Christmas is warm and close.
Easter is bright and new and beautiful.
Independence Day is bold and fun.
Halloween is sweet and controversial.

But Lent. Lent is not for the extended family or for neighbors or communities or skype calls. Lent is your own, and sometimes it is also within your immediate family. So it is one holiday that can travel with you without threat of change.


But do you honor it? Do your habits change between Ash Wednesday and Resurrection Sunday? On one hand, why dwell on the crucifixion and resurrection for 40 days when we can sum it all up on Easter morning? On the other hand, why not set aside those several weeks to go deeper, to reach further, and/or to purge cleaner? Well, it's not an ordinance, so it is an optional commemoration, but please consider what Lent could do in you this season.

How would we all change if we p a u s e d to walk with Christ on that road to Jerusalem then to Gethsemane then to Golgotha?


Instead of giving my reasons and methods for observing Lent, I'm going to list some resources for those interested. Please remember, though, that it's a personal decision. So if you choose to mark these 40 days in a special way this year, don't publicize your efforts and thereby steal glory from God. Share it with an accountability partner and with your family, of course, but it's counter-productive to boast about a practice that is supposed to teach you humility.

Now, for some resources:

Why observe Lent?
Why Bother with Lent? by Chuck Colson at The Gospel Coalition
In Defense of Lent by Amy Julia Becker at Christianity Today
How Can You Observe Lent? at Bible Gateway

How can I observe Lent?
Readings:
Journey to the Cross: A Free Devotional Guide at The Gospel Coalition
Trail to the Tree by Ann Voskamp at A Holy Experience
Bread and Wine: Readings for Lent and Easter
Lenten Devotional Guide (2013) at The High Calling

More ideas:
...Ways to Observe Lent for Moms and Kids at Moms Encouraging Moms
The Confused Protestant's Guide to Lent. Plus 10 ideas for how to observe it by Aaron McCarter

Be blessed this spring,

Do you observe Lent? Will you share why and/or how you set aside these weeks before Resurrection Sunday?

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