The observance of Lent is upon us. This Wednesday (Ash Wednesday, February 13) will mark the first day of Lent which will culminate on Easter Sunday (March 31). From the early years, Redemption Church has observed the Lenten season, sometimes corporately, but most often individually as people or small groups of people have chosen to observe Lent in a number of different ways. Folks will choose to give up something in there lives (fasting) for the duration of the Lenten season with the purpose of stirring their affections for Jesus.
The main purpose of this specific blog is to resource folks, within our church body, who desire to celebrate Lent this year and at the end of this blog you will find several links to specific resources you might find helpful.
However, if you have any questions about Lent, a good place to start would be this article from The Resurgence titled, “Why Bother With Lent.” Here is a quote from the article:
Again, the Lenten season and its encouragement to take an extended time to focus on the death and resurrection of Christ provides us with an opportunity to honor God as we prepare for Easter Sunday.
And remember, the goal of Lent isn’t self loathing or impressing God with abasement. Instead it is Philippians 3:8-10:
Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.
Finally, we wish to be very clear that the celebration of Lent is a completely optional thing. But, for the Christian, self-denial is not an option at all, it is an explicit command. John Piper says it like this:
Lent or no Lent, not doing some things you feel like doing is the daily pattern for the disciples of Jesus. Yes, daily. “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23).
In the resurrection there will be no self-denial because none of our desires will be sinful or foolish. Till then we have sinful and foolish desires daily. Hence, “Let him deny himself and take up his cross daily.”
And so we call you to prayerfully consider celebrating Lent this year on an individual or small group level and here our some resources you may find helpful.
- Redemption Hill Church (an Acts 29 church in Richmond, VA) has produced an excellent guide to the Lenten season, that you can download here. This guide includes suggested passages to read, fasting ideas, and devotionals. It has a very clean and vibrant design to it and the sections are concise very easy to understand.
- The Gospel Coalition has linked to and incredibly robust (138 pages long) Lent guide, with in depth daily devotionals that include a Call to Worship, Confession, Contemplation, and Closing Prayer. The guide is titled “Journey to the Cross” and can be downloaded here.
- The Village Church (also an Acts 29 church) has provided a helpful guide as well. Download it here. This guide is very similar to the Redemption Hill guide but is from a previous year, so ignore the dates and just go week to week if you choose to use this one.
- You Version has several Bible reading plans available and you can check them out here.
- Finally, for those of you who have kids and the Jesus Storybook Bible, this random website has a schedule you can use to read through the Jesus Storybook Bible with your kids this Lenten season.