Dates for this year: Lent for the year 2021 starts on Wednesday, February 17th and ends on Thursday, April 1 with evening prayer on Holy Thursday, which is then followed by the three days of Easter..
Role of Lent : The season of Lent lasts for forty days (not including Sundays). It is a time when Christians reflect and prepare for the celebrations of Easter. Some people fast, eat frugally or give up treats following the example of Jesus, who fasted for forty days in the wilderness. We recommit to Christian practices such as prayer, almsgiving, fasting, and reconciliation to prepare to enter the mystery of Easter. Through these practices, we deepen our commitment to the Christian life and prepare to renew our baptismal promises.
Suggestions for observing Lent consider your motive, once we realise why we are intending to do something for Lent we are more likely to find the right thing. For instance does one of these describe your aim: to prepare for Easter and the renewal of Baptismal promises; to follow the example of Jesus in the wilderness; to use this time to train yourself in discipline (perhaps regardless of the particular discipline); to grow in your faith?
You may then like to consider:
- giving things up, (particularly but not necessarily things that are bad for you, chocolate, wine, facebook). But what will you do with the money and time liberated? Matthew 4 does not tell us overtly what Jesus did with his time in the wilderness but it seems safe to assume he prayed, particularly about his baptism and his vocation.
- taking things up, There has been in trend in recent years to look for something more positive to do in Lent. Commit to daily prayer; create a way of trying some of the suggestions for prayer on this website under ‘how to’, social action, exercise (God cares for your body as well as your soul!).
- practising a practical and/or spiritual discipline, There is plenty in the New Testament about our need for discipline eg Hebrews 12. Richard Foster’s ‘Celebration of Discipline’ is the modern classic in this area.
- Growing in discipleship. Meet with others of the past (through books) and of the present to explore your faith and that of others.
Daily prayer: increase or redefine your commitment; join with others (many churches and religious communities are offering some form of morning and evening prayers).
Your own church: find out what they are offering
Books: It is getting late for ordering in English from the UK, but you might find other resources, or be happy to start late. There are many, some with daily readings, some with weekly readings. A sample
may be seen at https://www.eden.co.uk/easter/lent-resources/books/ A particular suggestion is from the Lutheran Gayl Ramshaw ’40 days and 40 nights’. Or you may want to commit to reading a spiritual classic.
SSJE (society of St John the Evangelist, Anglican monastic order in USA) : offers a weekly email including a video on prayer at https://www.ssje.org/2021/01/06/come-pray-lent-2021/ They invite you to join the brothers in online prayer, but since they are in an American time zone that is not generally practical!
glasgow ignatians, https://www.iscglasgow.co.uk/lent2021.html this is an on-line/on an app offering of readings reflections, music and art, plus a weekly meeting with others following the course for support. N B I am interested in hosting a group on a monday lunchtime so it is suitable for those still working as well as others. Please let me know by friday 12 feb if you would like to join by leaving a comment.
the abbey of the arts has https://abbeyofthearts.com/programs/online-classes/lent2021/ Journey with the Desert Mothers and Fathers (Lent 2021) an online mixture of live sessions, reflections, videos
https://www.churchofengland.org/resources/livelent-2021-church-resources-gods-story-our-story involves book, and app. The theme is evangelism and witness.