The season of Lent, beginning with Ash Wednesday, invites us to go on a 40 day spiritual journey, with the story of Jesus’ ministry as our guide. His story in scripture challenges us to wrestle with his teachings, meditate on his presence, receive his healing, and try our faith in the face of his death. Lent is meant to lead us to a place of struggle. In that struggle, there lives a divine hope that we might grasp God’s meaning for us, and come to offer ourselves in union with Christ’s offering for us.
Traditionally, Christians choose something to give up during Lent. Their sacrifice is a response to the sacrifice Jesus made when he was crucified on the cross. Their sacrifices seem trivial in comparison to the ones Jesus made.
What kind of things do you give up for Lent? Perhaps you take a sabbatical from Facebook or not consuming a certain type of food. Are those meaningful things to give up for Lent; or just random things you’re challenging yourself to live without?
Here are some ideas for a more meaningful Lent sacrifice:
- Give up technology for 1 hour each day (not counting when you're in bed!). The goal is attainable and the result will be more time with family. Use that time to strengthen bonds with family or friends face to face.
- Let go of negative feelings. Release those feelings or anger, jealousy or fear. Find positive ways to re-establish your mindset. Is it easy? No. Is it meaningful? Absolutely!
- Give out a little of your heart by starting a pay it forward chain. Once a week (or once a day), do something nice for somebody. Order and pay for a hot apple pie for the car behind you in the drive thru. Offer to help someone with their groceries. Compliment someone on their appearance. They may need that positive recognition to get to a happier place.
- Give up the word “LOVE”. During the season of Lent give up this four letter word and replace it with action. When Lent season is over, after Easter Sunday, the word love will have a more substantial meaning and those around will have a better image of what love actually means to you.
- Attend a Taizé Evening Prayer service. Diamond Hill UMC conducts this service, Thursdays from 730-8p. This candlelight service is a peaceful half-hour of meditative singing, scripture reading, silence and prayer.
Find a way to make your sacrifice unique and meaningful. Look outside the box and into your heart. Find a way to peel off any old dead layers of yourself and replace those layers with a fresh new and rejuvenated perspective.
May God’s transforming grace be with you in this holy and blessed Lenten season, and in the end, may you find yourself at the destination of more abundant life.