Dear friends in Christ,
Lent is just around the corner. This week, I want to share a few thoughts about Lent at your church. Next week, I’ll write about Lent for you.
Once again, Lent this year will be different than we might prefer, as the pandemic continues. In some places, church activities will seem “normal” while in others nearly everything will be done online or in homes, and I expect everything in between. So how can we productively use this Lenten season?
The Book of Common Prayer suggests some ways to savor the Lenten season: “by self-examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting, and self-denial; and by reading and meditating on God’s holy Word.” Some of this work may best be done by individuals, but certainly churches can encourage repentance and prayer, for example.
Bible studies are popular, and with good reason. They work well online or in person. You can just gather some people with Bibles. Or you might like to use a book as a companion, such as A Journey With Luke or the Social Justice Bible Challenge.
My most recent book, The Way of Love: A Practical Guide to Following Jesus, is a brief little book that invites people into deeper spiritual practices such as prayer, study, and service. Though it wasn’t written specifically for Lent, I’ve heard good reports from those who used it as a Lenten study.
ChurchNext offers group courses. These can be used in person with a projector and shared conversation, or they translate very well to Zoom gatherings too. While it’s not specifically Lenten, the latest (free!) anti-racism course may be timely.
There are myriad ways to enter into a Lenten journey of repentance. Whatever you do, I hope you and your church will find ways to gather for learning and formation this coming Lent.
P.S. Global logistics challenges continue. If you are ordering materials from Forward Movement or any other Christian publisher, I encourage you to order right away to ensure your materials arrive in time.