I thought it might interest followers of this blog to know what I’m doing for Lent. (Equally it might not interest you at all, in which case feel free to engage in more diverting activities: scrap-booking, reading and watching “Outnumbered” have all done the job of diverting me at one time or another.)
In my family background, Christianity was/is primarily a cultural thing. As kids, we used to give up a luxury like sweets or chocolate for Lent. This sacrifice was to help us remember Jesus’ forty days of fasting in the wilderness. I remember also being told that you might read the Bible during Lent. This possibly sticks in my mind because we didn’t read the Bible at other times of the year at home. The emphasis was on cutting stuff out rather than adding new stuff.
I made the decision to follow Jesus for myself a couple of years ago, and last year I (whisper it) really enjoyed Lent. I followed a devotional that had been produced by my church. By this point I was reading the Bible every day of the year if possible, but the devotional in question was specifically Lent-themed. I decided to limit the amount of time I spent on my iPhone, which has more or less continued and has only been good for my relationship with Freddie. It’s horrid when he has to share me with the stupid phone. I also scaled down a voluntary commitment I’d been involved with which was costing me time with my hubby. The whole thing felt less like forty days of legalistic rule-following, and more like a period of drawing gradually closer to God. Turns out the apostle James had it sussed when he promised ‘Come near to God and he will come near to you’ (James 4:8).
This year, God graciously gave me a Lenty idea well in advance via my friend Amy – to commit to praying for a different friend or family member every day of Lent. A key part of this is that you announce it on Facebook beforehand, so people can message you their prayer requests. Announcing it on FB also makes a public statement that you’re a praying person. (So FB isn’t all bad – it’s very useful for witnessing! Now, just as soon as I can stop Face-stalking people I haven’t seen for years, I’ll have a totally healthy relationship with social networking sites. Yes I will, yes I will!). Then another friend Lucy, who was also present when Amy shared her idea, came up with this fab method for adapting the prayer idea with our children: http://desertmum1.wordpress.com/2014/02/28/lent-prayer-tree-creative-prayer-for-families/ I’m doing this with Freddie too, but the presentation is much sloppier!
We’ll see how it goes…
What about you? Do you “give stuff up” for Lent, or do you “add stuff in”? Do you make sacrifices all year round (caring for someone else, giving time/possessions/money in Jesus’ name) or go deeper with sacrifice/fasting at Lent?