Lent is a week away and I’m gearing up for what I’m going to do.Traditionally Lent is a season of penance to prepare your heart for Holy Week and Easter. Spiritually I find it a fruitful time. I am not particularly good at spiritual disciplines, devotional practices and keeping a rule most of the time, but Lent works because it is focused (on the suffering of Christ and our identification with him) and it is limited (six weeks). Last year I prayed through an Orthodox prayer-book through Lent, trying wherever possible to pray the offices throughout my day. A couple of years ago my wife and I did a mostly-meatless Lent and read about agricultural practices and creation care. This inspired some permanent changes in how we approach food (some bad habits have slowly crept back).
My plan this year will involve:
- Almost no meat. We have little kids that are iffy about eating beans so likely we have to continue to cook some meat just to make sure our kids get protein. However I plan to only eat meat on Sundays and possibly fish on Fridays.
- I will be going through two devotionals: M. Basil Pennington’s Seeking His Mind: 40 Meetings With Christ(Paraclete Press) and Keri Wyatt Kent’s Deeply Loved: 40 Ways in 40 Days to Experience the Heart of Jesus. At least one of these I will read with my wife.
- Last year on this blog I blogged about the seven deadly sins during Lent (and the seven words from the cross during Holy Week). This year I plan to do a series of posts on the so-called penitential psalms. These were the Psalms used in confession in the Medieval church ( Psalms 6, 32, 38, 51, 102, 130, and 143) which express sorrow for sin and our longing for restoration.
- This year I do not have a specific prayer-book I’m praying through. My wife and I will pray some of the prayers from Common Prayer (one of our favorite prayer books). I recently acquired At Home With God: A Complete Liturgical Guide to the Christian Home and we may integrate part of that into family prayers. With the exception of last Lent I never regularly prayed from a prayer-book. I’m less regimented this year and I’m trying to approach it differently. Last year my prayer practice was my private prayer practice. This year I’m seeking to be family oriented.
All four of these things are ambitious. They are also communal. By sharing my plan here I am committing myself, but I can’t do it alone
What about you? Do you give anything up? How do you prepare for Easter?