While Advent is an increasingly mainstream season of the church calendar, it seems like Lent is still given the wary side-eye by evangelicals. Traditionally, the 40-day season leading up to Easter known as Lent is observed through reading scripture, performing acts of charity, and fasting. More colloquially, we recognize Lent as that season preceded by a raucous party, kicked off with some ashes, and sustained by denying yourself a luxury, whether that be chocolates or Netflix.
Wherever you fall on the spectrum of Lent awareness and participation, there is something to be said for allowing the seasons in the church calendar to function as on-ramps to a deeper, more intentional walk with God. Family schedules get busy. Ministry can be taxing. Maintaining healthy relationships is hard. Sometimes we need a nudge to slow down and mentally and spiritually prepare for what we celebrate every Easter.
With that in mind, we've put together suggestions for three simple ways to engage the Lenten season. Pick one or do all three. Our desire is that something in these practices will help you connect with the One who died and rose again in new and fresh ways.
Music is a simple, meaningful way to engage with the Lenten season. This playlist is full of songs whose lyrics will help you reflect on the themes of sacrifice, remembrance, confession, humility and reverence. Keep this playlist going on repeat or listen and meditate on one song per day - there are 40!
The full playlist is available on Spotify or you can or use the list to create a playlist on your music streaming service of choice. Make sure to join us over on Instagram every Wednesday during Lent to hear worship leaders from around the district reflect on some of these songs.
Choose a Lent devotional to focus your daily time with God on the season at hand. There are tons to choose from. Here are some to explore.
We know recommendations can be tricky because all of us, even within the EFCA, don't agree on everything outside of our statement of faith. We purposefully included a wide range of voices in these suggestions, believing that we can be challenged by hearing from voices that cover the spectrum of Christian traditions and backgrounds. We encourage everyone to use discernment anytime they pick something up - holding all literature, no matter what the writing or occasion - up against the truth of God's Word.
Prayer is one of the traditional three pillars of Lent. While God loves it when we communicate with Him in any form, praying Scripture is a meaningful practice that grows our relationship and helps us meditate on the word of God.
Psalms are a great place to start if you've never prayed Scripture, but you can use all of the Bible as a basis for your prayers. Below are several passages of Scripture that fit well with the themes of Lent.
Take a moment to read the verse. Reflect on what the passage says about God and what it says about our relationship to God. Then use the words as a basis for your own prayer.
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