Ruben asked the same thing last year, “Isn’t Lent a Catholic thing?” It’s hard to welcome foreign ideas when you don’t understand them. I can’t say I understand all the historical background behind Lent and who started it and which religions observe it. What I do know is that it prepares us for the death and resurrection of Christ, who happens to be who I call God.
I see Lent standing out as something special and sacred among the dust of life. I think it’s important even for contemporary women of faith. In a busy, active, demanding life, not to mention to dullness of February, we could all use a pause to remember our limits.
Last year was my first year embracing the Lenten season. I entered in looking for Jesus in the midst of tradition. Lent observed looked stale and meaningless. Life threw a very difficult circumstance at me and I found myself crying out to him in that raw, genuinely desperate way that comes with devastating news.
What I found was a beautiful season that “celebrates” (can I call it that?) our humanity. Since our flesh and weakness play such a part in life we are foolish to ignore it. I wrote about it HERE (along with the resources I used last year).
I’ve never immersed myself in Lent when I’m at my best. Last year and this year both have the same thing in common. Lent has arrived alongside a time of questioning and wondering: how I can ever conquer the parts of me that are only human. My humanity makes mistakes and lets other down. I can’t look past my own interests to those of others. Sometimes it feels like I’ve conquered those parts of me. But this year at this time, it feels like I’ll never get there.
That’s why Lent is so beautiful to me. It starts with a declaration that we came from dust and to dust we will return. It is an affirmation of my humanity, my limits and my pure and utter need for the redemption of Jesus.
Here are some resources that help me make the most of this season and prepare myself for the death and resurrection of my Lord, Jesus Christ.
- Trinity Grace Church download for FREE is a quality piece of work that provides Scripture, questions for reflection and prayers for each day. There is room for notes; all you need to do is print it out!
- For the artistic and visuals among us: This Lenten calendar gives space for daily drawings and doodles associated with a word you choose for the day. At the end of Lent, you’ll have a beautiful collection of God’s words to you over 40 days.
- The Lent Project from Biola University is my absolute favorite and also appeals to my creative side. (they also have an Advent Project around Christmas). They have a new devotional every day. It comes with beautiful, various artworks and a song selection for each day. The devotionals are well written by different members of faculty at Biola University. Some days I focus on the Scripture, while other days I only listen to the song. Sometimes I spend an hour meditating and other times I just spend 5 minutes soaking in the artwork and how it reveals Jesus.
- This article gives a lot of background for why we celebrate Lent.
- For those of you who follow She Reads Truth, their article from last year talks about the value of tradition and ritual.