Lent: A Journey With Jesus
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What is Lent?
Lent is the 6 week period of time that begins on Ash Wednesday and culminates in the celebration of Easter. Traditionally, it is a period of time for Christians to repent (realign their lives toward God) and personally prepare to accept Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross as an action that brings grace and eternal life to each believer.
During the period of Lent it is appropriate to meditate on our personal and corporate sinfulness. Because of this many Christian traditions encourage people to give up something or fact during this period (following Jesus’ pattern of a 40 day fast in Matt. 4) Sometimes, it is appropriate for a person to add something to their life - a daily spiritual practice for example - instead of giving something up. Whatever you add or give up during the Lenten period, it should be something that helps you focus on God, not on the world.
What does the word Lent actually mean?
It comes from the German word for “Spring” because the 40 days takes place in the Spring (at least in the Northern Hemisphere). Originally the Lenten period was called quadragesima, meaning ‘the forty days.’
Aren’t there actually 46 days between Ash Wed and Easter Sunday?
It is tradition not to include Sunday in the count. Sunday is considered to be a day of celebration because it is the day of Jesus’ resurrection and is therefore not included in the days reserved for penitence and fasting.
Is this a Catholic thing?
Although many people associate it with Catholicism, many traditions (including Presbyterians!) celebrate Lent.
Give Up Something Good
You are encouraged to give something up for Lent. We all have things that we should give up permanently. During Lent, think of something that you like, something you enjoy, and give that up. Every time you miss what you’ve given up, remind yourself that God is good and provides for your needs. When Easter arrives, take up what you gave up again, and thank God for the gift that it is in your life. If you plan on giving something up, let us know by emailing what you’re giving up to email@example.com
Read the Gospel of Matthew
Matthew’s gospel is 28 chapters long. Pace yourself, reading a little bit every day. Reserve chapter 26 for Maundy Thursday, chapter 27 for Good Friday and chapter 28 for Easter Saturday.
Each Sunday throughout Lent, we will be focussing on a different spiritual practice. You are encouraged to try each practice at least once during that week.
As you do particular spiritual practices consider posting something on Prairie’s Facebook page about your own Lenten Journey: http://www.facebook.com/prairiechurchwinnipeg
Feb 18 - Fasting: going without to be filled by God. (Ash Wednesday)
Action: Take one day this week and have a true fast from food. Make sure you drink water. Do not use the time you would have had meals to catch up on work. Use them for rejuvenation in some way: prayer, reading the Bible, connecting with a friend, etc.. We encourage you to fast from sunset on Feb 19 to sunset on Feb 20, but you can pick any day this week or any day during Lent.
Feb 22 - Solitude: prayer as being with and listening to God
Action: Schedule a full half hour sometime this week to spend in silence, listening for God. Have a pen and paper on hand. If distracting thoughts come into your mind, write them down and forget about them, and try to completely clear your mind and just be with God. When a though comes that you believe is perhaps from God, focus on that thought and repeat it in your mind as you listen.
March 1 - Devotional: praying the Scriptures
Action: Schedule a half hour in your week for reading a short Bible passage. Read it over several times to yourself, and identify a word or a short phrase that sticks out to you. Then repeat that word or phrase over in your mind and let that be your prayer. Give yourself time to listen for God, and it it helps write down your thoughts. If you want, you can get brave and share your thoughts with a friend, or try posting your phrase on Social Media.
March 8 - Sabbath
Action: Actually take a full day off from all work (this includes housework). If possible, even prepare your meals the day before so they can be simply laid out on your Sabbath. Try not to spend money this day either. Have fun, relax, enjoy God’s creation (that’s what God did on the seventh day). This might best be practiced on a Sunday - try it on March 15th.
March 15 - Giving
Action: Make a true tithe for this week to remind you of your dependence on God. Take some time and figure out what 10% of your income is for one week. Give that much money away - it doesn’t have to all be to the Church. If you already practice giving 10% of your income, pray asking God to show you how to grow in your giving. Is there something extra you are being called to do?
March 22 - Worship
Action: Attend worship on Palm Sunday, Easter Sunday and plan to attend special one or more special services during Holy Week, or pray the Stations of the Cross.
November 30 - for Hope
December 7 - for peace
Includes the celebration of Communion
December 14 - for joy
DECEMBER 21 - for love
Includes a Presentation by the Children of the Church and special Choir pieces
DECEMBER 24 - for christ
2 Candlelight Gatherings - 5:30pm and 7:30pm
Topics in this Message Series
Sep 7 - Jesus Matters: Ephesians 1:1-14
Sep 14 - The Gospel Matters: Ephesians 2:1-9
Sep 21 - The Church Matters: Ephesians 3:7-12 & 4:1-6
Sep 28 - Ministry Matters: Ephesians 4: 11-16
Oct 5 - Sacraments Matter: Mark 10: 32-45
Oct 12 - You Matter: Ephesians 1:15-19
Coming Up - Aug 10 & 17
Where you go, I will go
June 29 to July 20
The Lord is with you, mighty warrior
June 29 - The Weak Made Strong Judges 6:1-24
To save his people, God chooses Gideon, the least in his family, from the weakest of clans. God even calls Gideon a “mighty warrior,” but this is definitely not how Gideon sees himself. Does God ask us to do things beyond our capabilities? If so, where does strength for the weak come from?
July 6 - Tests of Faith Judges 6:25-40
Gideon was looking for a decisive answer to whether the direction God was leading was really the right one - so he devised a test. Imagine his surprise when God played along. There would be no further denying it - Gideon would have to do what God asked Him to do. How do you know what God really wants you to do?
July 13 - The 300 and God’s Salvation Judges 7
32,000 men enlisted to fight against their oppressors in the salvation effort. That wasn’t good enough for God. God wanted way less than that. God whittled it down to just 300 so that nobody could say “we saved Israel” when really it was God. The true story of the 300 is not about how incredible the warriors were. It isn’t about identifying with the warrior in facing the obstacles of life. Its about trusting in God to rise up and act through unlikely means. Its about God once again using weakness to do something well beyond their capabilities. Its about us being reminded to not take credit, but to give God the glory.
July 20 - Successes and Failures Judges 8
After great success in battle, Gideon pursued those who fled, and ended up getting them too. All the loose ends get tied up and Gideon is a great hero. It is in this moment that the people truly fail. They forget about God, and even Gideon makes a major mistake. What does success and failure look like for the person of faith?