Last year about this time everything changed. Life, as we knew it, morphed into a pandemic life style and not much has changed. Perhaps you feel like we have had a year of Lent. I read an article in the Lutheran magazine by Kimberly Knowle-Zeller that I’d like to share with you.
This Lenten season, I invite you to feel all your feelings, dig into the story of Jesus’ life and death, and find small, meaningful ways to honor the season. Here are some suggested faith practices for your journey:
Deep breaths. It sounds so simple. It is simple. Yet too often I fail to take my own advice. This Lent, remember to breathe deeply. While doing so, perhaps you could meditate on a mantra such as I breathe in peace. I exhale worry.
Centering poems. When we’re bombarded by screens and media, it can be centering to step away from them. Instead, take time to savor a poem a day. Maybe pick one or two poems to read over and over the next 40 days. (Kathleen Norris, Pádraig Ó Tuama and Jan Richardson are poets whose work intersects with Christian themes.)
Light a candle. Sit by its glow. Watch the flame or smell the scent. Repeat as often as needed, whether aloud or silently: Jesus is the light of our world.
Lent calls to us to keep moving forward and saying together, We have to go through it.
Pay attention. Commit to noticing what’s around you. You can take as little as one minute to stop what you’re doing and look. What do you see? What do you smell? What is one thing right in front of you that you didn’t notice before? Name it and give thanks to God.
Sit with a story. Pick a book of the Bible (or one chapter, such as Exodus 16 or Matthew 10) and read through it as many times as you can during Lent. Don’t worry about how much you read or if you miss a day. The practice is about sitting with one text and listening for how God is speaking to you.
Connect. Be intentional about connecting with others. Take a few minutes each day and send a text or write a letter. Pick up the phone and call someone you haven’t seen for a while. Whenever you connect, thank God for friendship.
Cook. Try a new recipe and savor the act of creating something. Scripture gives us many examples of sharing food. Jesus calls himself the bread of life, and throughout his ministry he sat down and ate with others. As you cook and bake, remember that in the making and breaking of bread, Jesus is present.
Finally, maybe most importantly, give yourself grace. Lent is not about achieving or doing, but about resting in the God who calls us and walks with us through life, death, and beyond.
Wherever you find yourself this Lent, know you’re not alone. We’ll go through it together.