First of all, because I believe it is beneficial to set some time apart to not just think about Lent, but remember what this season is really about (it’s about more than giving up chocolate).
Second, because I could write about Lent (and I have), but let’s face it: there are people out there stringing together words and creating something beautiful. Sometimes this season feels ugly with all it’s repentance and remembering we are dust, and I think we could all use some more beauty in our lives.
In case you are listened in what I’ve been listening to during this Lenten season, here is the Spotify playlist.
There is one thing I would like to point out: last week all the posts I linked to were directly talking about Lent, but you’ll find that not all the posts this week are articles or blog posts explicitly about Lent. This is intentional. I believe when we tune into the Christian season, when we embrace it with the full weight of who we are, our eyes begin to see Christ working through the little things. Things we don’t even realize. When our lives sync with the rhythm of the Christian seasons, we are no longer defined by the rush of the world telling us to consume, consume, consume. Instead we are able to savor and to embrace. And maybe you think it’s just semantics, but our language changes us, and I like those verbs a lot better.
But, first, let’s start with something about Lent. “What Christians Get Wrong About Lent” from Relevant Magazine:
Lent is the spring of hope for all who believe that the tomb is empty and the oppression of sin and death is released. It is the spring of hope for those mourning and grieving. This time of fasting is both a releasing to God but also a proclamation of freedom through Christ. More than that, it’s also sharing that hope to others through giving our own lives away, just as Christ did for us on the Cross.
“7 Things You Need When You’re Overwhelmed & Can’t Keep Up” by Ann Voskamp:
And God’s blessings don’t pursue temporarily — but relentlessly. It’s right there in His Word: His goodness and mercy pursue me not just some days — but all the days of my life. When I’m in a wilderness, His mercy and goodness run after me. When I’m hurting, His grace hunts for me. When I’m plagued by problems, His goodness pursues me.
No matter where I go, He has his two blessing men right there in hot pursuit: goodness and mercy, and no shadow of death can overshadow the goodness and mercy that shadows the child of God.
Even the discipline of the Lord can be a grace of the Lord and all the interruptions of a day can be the intercessions of Christ.
“Moments of Return” by Aimee Shelide Mayer:
She does not even know who or what she will find there. Clearly, she carries deep fear within her. She is afraid of who will answer, of what they will ask, and how she will respond as to why she left years ago: “I laughed a wooden laugh that I could fear a door.” How many times have I, too, been afraid to return—afraid to open the door to past memories, to past places, to past times when I didn’t really like or even know myself.
“Lent as Sacred, Embodied Time-Keeping” By James K.A. Smith:
Eating together. You might think Lent is about not eating—about fasting; but it’s also about breaking our fasts together. During Lent in Grand Rapids, MI, you can find a fish fry at any of the local Catholic parishes. The local newspaper publishes locations, and neighbors pour into the churches to share a common meal. Let’s not just think of Lenten disciplines as private pursuits: they should propel us into community, the body of Christ. These meals are echoes of the Lord’s Table.
“Lent Isn’t Just a Second Chance at New Year’s Resolutions” by Shannon Craig Straw:
Lent is supposed to be a time to struggle with our doubts and our humanity. But it’s become easy — not that refraining from chocolate or caffeine is especially easy, but it’s a lot easier than confronting our failures, our imperfections, and what is putting distance in our relationship with God.
“When Grace Ceases to be Grace” by Nate Pyle:
This is why grace and confession go hand in hand. Grace cannot come before confession because life, life that cannot taste death, cannot be entered until death is experienced. Confession is the mere recognition of the stench of death. This is why we are exhorted to carry our cross and daily die. It is not so that we cease to exist, but so we see clearly just how dead we are. In that moment, in the moment we see ourselves as dead we see our only recourse is to find our life in the grace that has been waiting for us to join its celebration of life.
What have you been reading during Lent? Have you given anything up or taken on anything?
Together we journey toward the Cross.