I'm new to Lent. The Church Calendar wasn't a big part of the tradition I grew up in. I learned about the high church as I studied my faith while trying to salvage it, and by then no amount of liturgical rhythm could help my doubts. The Church Calendar was academic to me, a curiosity of the high church as a Baptist and then a meaningless ritual as an atheist.
Today I'm part of a congregation that values the church calendar and liturgical practice now. It seemed quaint to me at first, but I've grown to love it.
Lent is the 40 day period that leads Good Friday (it's actually 46 days, but the Sundays don't count). It's a time for reflection as Easter approaches, and many people choose to take on some kind of fast for the duration of Lent. It begins today, Ash Wednesday.
If Lent is part of your faith practice, I'd like to share two resources that I'm exploring this Lenten season.
The Examen - A New Liturgy
If you follow my work closely, you know that Ignatian Spirituality is a big deal to me. St. Ignatius founded the Jesuits, and he created accessible, useful prayer practices. The Ignatian works are great not only because I enjoy them, but also because research has shown them to be consistently helpful forms of meditation. One of those is The Examen, a prayer that helps you reflect on the last day with God. Aaron Niequest created a wonderful guided exercise that can help you try The Examen in your Lenten practice.
40 Ideas for Lent - Rachel Held Evans
My wife sent me this list of ideas for Lenten practice by Rachel Held Evans. Here's what Rachel says to introduce the piece:
As has become a tradition here on the blog, I’ve compiled a list of 40 ideas that I hope will help you make the most of this season of reflection, penitence, and preparation. Some ideas are repeats from previous years, while others are new.
I know I reviewed a new release by The Brilliance yesterday, but they also have an older release made specifically for Lent. I used it last year, and plan on using it again this year.
Page CXVI also has a Lenten EP that I enjoy.
I hope you find these resources helpful and encouraging on your journey.