The word “Lent” refers to the lengthening days leading up to Easter. As the days lengthen and the Northern Hemisphere emerges from darkness, so we prepare ourselves for the promise of the light of Christ’s resurrection that always stands as a promise of God’s grace leading us out of the dark places in our lives to the light of his love and hope.
Traditionally, Lent provides a quiet pause in the year during which we may choose to give up a practice, a food or something else to which we are attached, and take on practices that strengthen our relationship with Christ, help us to see more clearly how Divine grace is available to us, deepen our prayer and help open our eyes to the holy.
Here are some Lenten practices to jog your imagination:
- Turn off the radio or TV in the morning and begin the day in silence.
- Take a minute each day to read one of the Daily Devotions for Individuals and Families (Book of Common Prayer pp. 136-140)
- Download and listen to the weekly sung Compline service from St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral, Seattle. (complinechoir.org)
- Listen to podcast of daily Episcopal Morning or Evening Prayer. These are updated daily. (Podcast from the Episcopal Church in Garrett County. You can subscribe).
- Attend Fr. Jess’ Eucharist at 7:00 a.m. in the Chapel each Thursday.
- Re-read a book that has put you in touch with God in the past.
- Take a slow, quiet walk.
- Take time to volunteer in the soup kitchen at church on Thursdays.
- Plan and do an act of random generosity. Pray about it beforehand.
- Become acquainted with a local outreach agency or ministry such as Ghent Area Ministries.
- Watch a movie that brings you into the presence of the sacred. (For me it is Babette’s Feast).
- Begin by asking God for the grace to see what practice will be life giving for you – then listen to your heart and imagination.
- Read a spiritual book or pamphlet like Lenten Meditations 2019 which you will find in a pew at church, Forward Day by Day, Contemplative Prayer by Thomas Merton, Practice of the Presence of God by Br. Lawrence or Falling Upwards by Richard Rohr. Read a little from each book every day.
- Simplify your eating and eat more slowly.
- Put aside “Thanksgiving Money” as a family or individually whenever you wish to give thanks for something or someone. At Easter give the money to an international outreach ministry.
- Make a private confession with a priest. Any of the clergy can help you prepare and hear your confession.
- Attend the Messiah on March 31 at 4:00 p.m.
- Attend a Taizé service on March 17 at 5:30 p.m.
Remember that Sundays are always Feasts of the Resurrection and you can break a fast on Sunday during Lent.
Share your own ideas on the parish Facebook group.
When we get to Holy Week (April 15–20), the whole parish will be on retreat with special activities to do at home and church. No meetings will take place at church this Holy Week.