It may sound strange, but Lent is one of my favourite times of the year! I think that’s because the forty days before Easter are a wonderful opportunity for God to work in our lives—to give us a new rhythm of life that feels different from the beat of the world’s drum.
And the Church in her wisdom knows that we need some practical guidelines for just how to adopt this new rhythm. Prayer, fasting, and giving. Those are the three pillars of Lent, and while they may sound like more “rules” or a checklist, they are actually life-giving practices that I encourage you to try during this holy time of the year.
Prayer is our “spiritual exercise” and just like going to the gym takes discipline, we can decide to make time with God a daily habit. There are all kinds of ways to pray, and spending just 5 minutes of quiet with God each day is truly a life-changing practice that will help you grow in peace and joy. You can also participate in our Lenten course “Signs of Life” to go deeper with God in your spiritual life, and enjoy praying as a group.
What about fasting? Sounds miserable, right? Well, not really. How about cultivating simplicity in one area of your life? If you skipped your Starbucks run each day and squirreled that toonie away, you would have a nice little gift to give to those who are shivering in the cold. Or do you find that you spend too much time surfing the internet or on social media (guilty as charged!:)? Then just say “no” to yourself that way and pick up a good book. Could you hold back from gossiping or raising your voice when the kids are slow? How about just listening to someone instead of talking? These are all ways that we can mindfully “fast” during Lent.
Last but not least—we are reminded to give. As followers of Jesus at Christ Church Deer Park we are learning to give back to God a proportion of what He has blessed us with. But sometimes we can find ways to give more. Maybe by fasting from an expensive habit we can divert that money to giving? As those who love to give know, we will experience freedom from worrying about “having enough” when we give above and beyond what we think we are able to.
I encourage us all to keep a holy Lent—living into this new rhythm of life by trying out these life-giving threefold practices of prayer, fasting and giving.
“I imagine Lent for you and for me as a great departure from the greedy, anxious antineighbourliness of our economy, a great departure from our exclusionary politics that fears the other, a great departure from self-indulgent consumerism that devours creation. And then an arrival in a new neighborhood, because it is a gift to be simple, it is a gift to be free; it is a gift to come down where we ought to be.”(Walter Brueggemann, A Way Other Than Our Own: Devotions for Lent)
Start the season with us on Ash Wednesday (26th February) at either 7:30am or 7:00pm for Holy Eucharist and the Imposition of Ashes.
Blessings for a Holy Lent,