Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Lent Approaches: Plan Now

Yesterday, I went to this wonderful website to think about coloring my way through Lent.  If you'd like to try something similar, this part of the website will give you templates to download.

And then, startled, I realized that Lent is just 2 weeks away.  I'm not quite ready to accept the fact that Christmas is over, and now it's time for Lent.  It seems like such a short time ago that I was reading my way through Henri Nouwen's Show Me the Way:  Readings for Each Day of Lent.  And now it's time to begin again.

I've been thinking about how quickly we move from Advent to Christmas to Lent to Easter--and then that long season of Ordinary Time.  I'd like to have more of these special activities for summer too.

But first, Lent 2016.  How will you make this season a time apart?

There are some of the obvious ways:  giving up something for Lent, adding some special readings, or going to an extra church service during the week.  But let's not forget some of the other possibilities too:

Pray in Different Ways:

--Maybe you want to add a visual element to your prayers:  coloring or doodling or collaging.

--Keep a prayer journal and look for ways your prayers are answered.  Write them down so that you'll remember.

--Use prayer beads.

Add some creativity to your days:

--Bake bread.  As you shape the bread dough, think about how God shapes you.

--Start a garden.  Or buy several bunches of flowers at the grocery store and arrange them into one bouquet.

----Write a poem about God. But before you start, fill in the following blank 25 times without thinking about it: God is like _______________________.

--Sketch or doodle or collage.

--Choose an art supply that gives you joy.  Use it once a week.

Do More Charity and/or Justice Work:

--Make an extra contribution to your favorite charity. Maybe you could make one extra contribution per week. It doesn’t have to be huge. But it could be.

--Clean out your closets. Give away anything you haven’t worn in the past year. Clean out your kitchen cupboards.

--When you go to the grocery store, buy some extra food for your favorite charity.

--Give some extra time during Lent. Volunteer at a soup kitchen or a food pantry. Go to a nursing home and sing some old Gospel songs. Think about the people you know who have lives that are falling apart; go buy cards and put them in the mail.

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