Have a great lent

We’re proud that, at friendsfirst, we have members from many different Christian denominations and a few who’d prefer not to align themselves to any; we also have members who are aflame with their faith, and others who are struggling to keep up! Have a great lent.

Many of you will be following the church’s festivals as they come round every year: Jesus’ birth, his death and resurrection and ascension to the Father; the coming of the Holy Spirit and so on.  Like any good celebratory meal, or feast, there’s a period of preparation and, just like a special birthday, the bigger the occasion, the greater the preparation!

The church has, from the earliest times, recognised this and helped us prepare with the two great seasons of Advent and Lent before the great feasts of Christmas and Easter. Lent is upon us this week, and I thought I’d pass on some positive ideas for us all to try out to make our preparation for the annual commemoration of Jesus’ resurrection.

Some of us have been brought up to look at Lent as a rather ‘gloomy’ time, and I suppose meditating on the prophecies of Jesus’ suffering and death are not exactly jolly.  But it is not a bad thing for us to look at our own lives in relation to the standards set out for us in the Bible, and Lent can be just that time.

Here are four steps to a Positive Lent:

1. Prayer

Read the scriptures daily. Perhaps look out for those specifically which foretell the suffering of Jesus for our sins.  Nearer Easter you can follow Jesus’ day by day journey to Calvary.

Examine your conscience. Perhaps think of some areas of your life that could do with sprucing up, and have a spring clean!

If you don’t do it already, consider saying Grace before the principal meal of the day.  We find it’s a great way to give thanks for all the many blessings of the day, and not just giving thanks for the food.

See if there’s a prayer group to join. If you’re new to this, ask a friend to take you – I’m sure you’ll be greatly welcomed.

What about going to another church in your locality?  See how Christians of another tradition worship and, with an open mind, see if there’s something you can pick up.  It’s a bit like going for an occasional Chinese rather than your normal Indian take-away.

  • Take a friend to church.

2. Study

Many churches organise Lent study groups, often gathering in people’s homes to read and study relevant biblical passages.  In my local town the four churches organise this together.

Watch less television.  Perhaps borrow some good DVDs from the library or church with a more uplifting theme than most telly!

Look for opportunities to talk about your faith – and don’t come on too hard!

  • Ring some friendsfirst members to chat.  You may not think they’re the ‘right one’ for that special relationship, but remember we are a friendship organisation …

3. Fasting

Choose a day of the week to be a special fast day (Fridays – the day of the crucifixion – are traditional in some churches).  Eat less, or eat something you wouldn’t normally – these can help you orientate your mind to the reason you’re doing it.

Give up something you like, and give the money to a charity (see 4. below).

  • Why not have a Lent ‘fasting lunch’ at your house.  Invite a few friends for a frugal lunch and pray and talk informally together.

 4. Charity

Put a pot by your bed, and put spare change in it when you get changed for bed. Choose a charity you’d like to support, and watch the pot fill up!

Clear out that ‘stuff’ in your cupboards and give it to a charity for the homeless. It’s so much easier when you’ve got a reason for it!

Visit sick or housebound people near you.  Telephone those you know who might be lonely, but too far away to visit.

  • Live more simply!


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