Lent for the sake of others

March 5th, 2019 | April Karli

“Self-giving God, call us to walk the road of newness – a new self, a new society, a new world, one neighbor at a time. May we have traveling mercies this Lenten season.”  –Walter Brueggemann

Lent is a season when we are invited to intentionally enter into disciplines of prayer, self-examination, and repentance. It mirrors the 40 days that Jesus spent in the wilderness before he began teaching and healing people. Many people talk about what they will give up for Lent. Everything from chocolate and coffee to social media and Netflix are set aside as a way to create space and recenter our minds and hearts on God. 

Giving up our habits is a way to remind us of our human condition. Beginning on Ash Wednesday when we are marked with ashes and reminded that “from dust we came and to dust we shall return” we face our brokenness and our mortality head on. The ashes are an outward sign of what we so often try to deny as we fill our days with distractions. Our hope is to be transformed as we journey toward the cross and eventually the empty tomb and resurrected Jesus on Easter! 

This year we will consider what it means to practice the season of Lent for the sake of others. As we give something up we also take on something new. How does our inward transformation open up more space for us to love others? In what ways is our attention shifted off ourselves and onto our neighbors as we let go of habits and things that no longer serve us or others? What does it mean to practice Lent in such a way that we grow in our capacity to love others like Jesus loves us?

Through Sunday sermons and Community Group discussion we’ll explore these questions together. 

If you are looking for a resource to use as a discipline this Lent, here are a few suggestions:

An American Lent: Repentance Project – This Lenten devotional is a journey through America’s history of slavery, segregation, and racism. At times, it may feel like a voyage into the shadow of death. But even in that deep darkness, God is with us, and his light is the hope that guides us. The aim of this journey is that through the prayers, reflections, and responses, the Holy Spirit will transform us, individually and collectively, to look more like Christ.

Lent for Everyone: Luke, A Daily Devotional – This devotional is the perfect companion as we study the gospel of Luke throughout the season of Lent. N. T. Wright’s Lenten devotional will help you contextualize Luke for the season thoughtfully and prayerfully, and your journey through Lent will be a period of rich discovery and growth.

Worshiping with Children has ideas for families to practice Lent together and help their children enter into the season as well. 

Consider these words from the Book of Common Prayer as we begin Lent together:

“I invite you, therefore, in the name of the Church, to the
observance of a holy Lent, by self-examination and repentance;
by prayer, fasting, and self-denial; and by reading and
meditating on God’s holy Word. And, to make a right beginning 
of repentance, and as a mark of our mortal nature, let us now 
kneel before the Lord, our maker and redeemer.”