First Christian Church to Give Charcoal Crosses for Ash Wednesday

During Lent, we usually make time to serve one another and our community with volunteer work.  We do have a few of those opportunities available, but with the pandemic and everyone quarantining, we also know how challenging it can be to get out these days.  Therefore, here are some spiritual practices we can embrace during these six weeks of Lent. Some are quite easy (who can’t pray for three minutes?), and some are the kind of challenge that may take a lifetime (forgiveness is often a struggle).

Throughout these weeks of Lent, join with us as we all work on our own spiritual health and follow Jesus’ lead to love and he has loved us.       

Week 1 (February 17- February 27)  Three Minute Prayer!  Pray three minutes a day.  Just three minutes.  You can do that!  Making time for the three minutes can grow into a regular practice that will stay with you beyond this one week.  May it be so! 

Week 2 (February 28- March 6) Give Thanks!  Isn’t there someone in your life you’ve needed to thank for a long time?  Keep on praying this week (prayers of thanksgiving) and find and courage to approach someone who has made a difference and thank them–through a note, a card, a phone call, social media, or in person (if possible).

Week 3 (March 7-13) Pray for Your Enemies!  Jesus asked us to pray—not just for our loved ones or friends, but also for our enemies.  This doesn’t mean we have to like our enemies, just pray for them.  Ask God to be present in their lives, guiding them, helping them.  You can even ask for God to change their hearts.  In doing so, we may find God changing ours.  Lift up at least one enemy this week in prayer on a regular basis.    

Week 4 (March 14-20)  Forgive and Let Go!  Find a way to let go of an old grudge and forgive. Prayerfully consider who it is in your life you’ve held hostage by your own bitterness and anger.  Take the big step toward freedom for that person and for you. This may require a face-to-face meeting, or it may be something you do on your own without that person present.  Letters that never get sent, entries into journals, imaginary conversations and real ones are all possible ways to meet this challenge.  This work of forgiveness is ultimately your own blessing as you let go of your own pain.

Week 5 (March 21-27)  Give It Away!  Is there some treasure or prized possession you’ve been saving that needs to change hands?  Maybe it is an heirloom or a favorite piece of furniture.  Maybe some clothes that are just like new, but that you’ll never wear.  This is the week to give it away—that heirloom might need to go to the next generation or a beloved friend, that furniture might bless another home that needs it, those clothes can bring a smile to someone else’s face.  Share what you have, and you will find blessing.     

Week 6  (April 2)  Good Friday Fast.  We will be fasting on Good Friday (April 2) as an entire faith community.  Fasting is giving up something.  The traditional biblical fast is a denial all food and drinking of only water for a specific period of time (in this case, 24 hours).  However, you can fast at whatever level you’re comfortable fasting–drinking only juice, water, and broth all day without eating any solid food, or eating vegetables but no meat on that day, or refusing desserts or processed foods–make it something that challenges you, but also something you’ll be able to accomplish.  There are other things you can fast from as well—television and social media are popular things to give up these days.     

On these weeks, the most important thing is that we all attempt these challenges to the best of our abilities.  This doesn’t mean we have to succeed at all of them, all the time.  Each day is a new day.  If you forget to do your challenge one day, that’s okay.  Start over tomorrow and try again.  As we walk together through these weeks, may we all find ways to build up one another and encourage one another in faith.  This journey isn’t a journey of one.  It is ours to share.