5 Ideas About Lent
There is one question that helps me keep a positive spin on many situations: What does this make possible?
When something in my house breaks and I don’t know how to fix it: What does this make possible? I have an opportunity to learn something new. I have an opportunity to spend more time with my son, since I will try to teach him how to be more handy around the house than I am.
When I’m alone in the car and backed up in traffic: What does this make possible? It can mean a few more minutes with an audio book. I can take a few more minutes to pray for those who come to mind or those who I will see at my destination.
Now we are about to enter in to the loved, hated, and/or feared season of Lent: What does that make possible?
I’ve met Christians with a variety of positions about Lent. Some see it as a time of year when the church can be honest and lament those things that are wrong with the world. Others see it as a morbid season of darkness. Some see it as a time of spiritual journey and reflection. Others see it as superstitious and unbiblical.
Some churches just like having a name to call their lead up to Easter. Let’s face it, every church is doing something to lead up to Easter, but “lead up” sounds a little too much like marketing language for church.
Knowing these different views on Lent and having good friends who are both opposed and in favor of this season of the church calendar, I’m opting for a different question: What does Lent make possible?
What is possible between now and Easter, knowing that many people are aware of the season of Lent?
1. This is a great time to find and complete a 40-day devotional plan.
Did you fail in February at reading the Bible in a year? Blessed is the man who restarts devotions! Find a 40-day Bible reading plan. There is no shortage of these online or in print. If you have a Bible reading plan, consider a 40-day prayer plan.
2. This is a great time to explore fasting.
How often do you fast? This is a much neglected spiritual discipline. If you don’t regularly fast, but wonder about this discipline, look for a plan and try it. Read a book like A Hunger for God by John Piper.
3. This is a great time to be more public with your faith.
Set a goal to be more public with your faith for 40 days. At some point before Easter your church is probably going to remind you to “invite a friend” for Easter Sunday. Rather than waiting until the last minute, begin talking about what you believe more regularly in conversation with others. Part of the fear of inviting someone to church is wondering if that friend will say, “You go to church? I had no idea!” Take time to thoughtfully and respectfully share your faith with others so an invitation to Easter is natural rather than forced.
4. This is a great time to be curious about what others believe about Jesus.
It’s part of the news cycle every year. There will be articles, blogs, and videos questioning Christianity, questioning the teaching of Jesus, questioning the possibility of resurrection from the dead. What does your neighbor think about any of this?
5.This is a great time to mend relationships.
This one is true in any season, but if you’ve been looking for a sign or looking for a good time to seek forgiveness from another person then here it is. Repentance doesn’t need to have a special season on the calendar, but if it helps you do the work of mending that you’ve been putting off then take advantage of the time.
What does Lent make possible? This is a great question to consider. I’ve only scratched the surface. What answers can you come up with?