Dear friends in Christ,
Last week I wrote about churches embarking on a Lenten journey in these strange times. This week, I want to say a few things about how we might go on a Lenten journey on our own.
Fundamentally, Lent is about repentance, about rejecting the alluring evils of this world and turning toward Jesus Christ. While it’s serious work, it need not make us glum! There is always joy in finding Jesus.
The classic Lenten practices are prayer, study, fasting, and self-denial. If you have an established habit of these practices, you certainly don’t need another thing. You’re ready to go, and I commend you on your Lenten journey.
My sense is that many people struggle to make sense of Lent in their own lives, and it’s especially challenging now. So I encourage you to give Lent a try. Reading scripture is always good, and there are lots of apps (including the free Forward Movement app, available on iOS and Google Play) to help with that. We also offer podcasts to be your companion on the way.
If you like a daily devotional, there’s always Forward Day by Day. This year, Forward Movement partnered with Washington National Cathedral on a book of daily devotions for the season. You can buy The Pilgrim Way of Lent: Meditations from Washington National Cathedral as a book or ebook.
Lent Madness is a fun way to see how people of all nations, cultures, and times can be disciples of Jesus. If you’re looking for something “less serious” for the season, the Saintly Smackdown will be just the thing. If you want something else that’s outside the box, ChurchNext offers several courses that may work for you.
My latest book, The Way of Love: A Practical Guide to Following Jesus, is a gentle and encouraging guide to going deeper with spiritual practices. If you always wanted to pray more or find ways to study, or go deeper in some other way, The Way of Love could be useful.
Forward Movement offers a whole array of resources for Lent. And our friends at other publishers have great books and materials, too.
Whatever you do, I hope you’ll do it with seriousness AND joy. Jesus always welcomes us when we turn to him. Lent is coming, and that means Easter can’t be far behind. As our prayer book bids us, let us prepare with joy for the Paschal feast.
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.