Like many of us, I look forward to the season of Lent. Lent offers us the opportunity to enrich our relationship with Jesus Christ. We focus on the end of his ministry, the events of Holy Week, the agony of his passion, his death, and his glorious resurrection.
Giving up sugar, alcohol, chocolate, etc. can certainly improve our health, but we’re often encouraged by church leaders, family members, and friends to take on a discipline during Lent.
Scott Gunn, executive director of Forward Movement, urges us on the first page of the February – April issue of Forward Day by Day to consider taking “seriously the opportunity it provides for us to repent, to acknowledge our sins, and to try to grow more deeply into the full stature of Christ.” Expanding this idea, he suggests that we “turn away from our earthly temptations” as a route to drawing closer to Christ.
Many of us read the Daily Lectionary using the quarterly Forward Day by Day reflections. The back of the booklet includes several prayers, short biographical information about the monthly authors of the reflections, and ads for books and pamphlets available at forwardmovement.org.
Another Lenten guide, Not by Bread Alone, can be purchased at litpress.org, and is available either as an ebook or paperback. The booklets are written as reflections on a daily scripture.
Do you read one of the many daily meditations books? Ones I have enjoyed reading are Oswald Chambers’ Our Utmost for His Highest and L. B. Cowman‘s Streams in the Desert.
I would also recommend Lent Madness at lentmadness.org. It is a presentation of thirty-two saints pitted against each other in a March Madness-like bracket heading to the winner of the Golden Halo! When you sign up via email, you receive a daily email with descriptions of two saints. You can then vote for the one who captures your imagination. It’s a great way to learn about different saints as well as enjoying a big dose of humor from the SEC (Supreme Executive Committee).
Whatever you may choose for your Lenten discipline, taking on a reading/meditation exercise coupled with prayer can draw us closer to our savior Jesus Christ in this most holy season.
– Ellen Batchelor