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The Invitation of Lent 

The Invitation of Lent

The Invitation of Lent 

by Kim Stewart, Director of Formational Ministries

Several years ago, I participated in a 9-month prayer journey with a small group led by my spiritual director/mentor. The 9-month journey followed the prayer experiences of Ignatius of Loyola. I was curious so I said yes. I longed to know Jesus more deeply and explore prayer in a new way. The prayer journey would follow the church calendar, which was something I didn’t know much about. This 9-month journey was what I would call a threshold of grace in my life and one of the most impactful parts was the season of Lent.  

 

What is Lent? 

Lent is a 40-day season of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving that begins on Ash Wednesday and ends at sundown on Holy Thursday. It is a period of preparation to celebrate the Lord’s resurrection at Easter. 

I had never really practiced Lent since I had become a follower of Christ some thirty plus years ago. Over the course of the Lenten season, we read the gospel accounts of Jesus’ encounters with people, his moments of solitudes and wrestling, and his interactions with his disciples and the religious leaders leading up to when he would bear the cross. I had never lingered in prayer in such an intentional way as I considered Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. We were to imagine ourselves being with Jesus in all these moments leading up to the cross as his friends. As his friend, what did I see, notice, and experience as I watched Jesus? Some days I could not bear these moments.  

Lent has not been the same for me since. There is an invitation for us as we intentionally set aside this time to enter more deeply into our Savior’s story because it is also our story. As I walked with Jesus over those 40 days, I began to see how he is present in my own journey. As I lingered with Jesus in his hours of deep sorrow, I experienced how he is with me in my own. The life, death and resurrection of Jesus show me what it looks like to be a whole human. The vulnerable, beautiful, broken human experience is not without hope.  

 

The Invitation 

The invitation of Lent is more than abstaining from foods or other vices we find in our lives. It is an invitation to remember and return to our true home, Christ, our first love. I encourage you to take the journey. May you know Jesus more deeply, love him more fully, and walk with him more closely. 

 

Questions to Consider during Lent

These questions from the Transforming Center may be helpful as you consider what invitation the Holy Spirit might be leading you into this Lent season. From the Book of Matthew, chapter 6:

  • How will I give? (v. 2, 3) Lent is a time for “giving things up” balanced by “giving to” those in need. 
  • How will I pray? (v. 5-13) As we “give up” some of our usual distractions, it creates more space for prayer. Perhaps there is a prayer practice (such as fixed hour prayer) that God is inviting us to during Lent. 
  • Who do I need to forgive and from whom do I need to seek forgiveness? (v. 14, 15) Seeking forgiveness and offering forgiveness creates space for God’s grace to flow in our lives. 
  • How will I fast? What is distracting me from my relationship with God? What do I need to abstain from to create more space for God and attentiveness to God? (v. 16-18) 
  • What earthly treasures am I attached to and how can I let go? The way we use our time, financial resources, and energy reflect powerfully on what we treasure. Is there any specific way in which God is inviting us to “let go” of our attachment to some earthly treasure—at least for this season? (v. 19-21) 

 

Lent: An Invitation to Return to God
by Ruth Haley Barton, The Transforming Center

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