I can’t believe it’s Lent again already! It creeps up on me every year.
I was just chatting to a friend and reflecting that, to an extent, being at theological college feels a bit like a permanent Lent – in that we’re constantly required to reflect on what God is doing in our lives and how he is shaping us for ministry – this painful process is what is called ‘formation’.
Remembering that the point of Lent (in my opinion) is to recalibrate oneself to ‘point north’ like a compass does automatically – that is to reorientate ourselves towards Christ and the cross – ultimately to get closer to God – it is worth considering whether what you’re planning to do for Lent will help you to do that.
It is so easy for Lent to become the Christian version of New Year’s Resolutions and for discussions to end up all about what I’m doing for Lent rather than what God might be doing in us.
So I’m not going to tell you what to do for Lent. Maybe the question you might want to ask yourself is ‘what am I going to be for Lent?’ Or ‘what is Lent going to be for?’
This year I am simply joining in the Big Bible Project’s Big Read 2014 and reading along with Stephen Cherry’s book Barefoot Prayers. I figured that I can manage to read one prayer a day and that it ‘passes my test’ of whether it will help me to recalibrate myself towards Christ!
Here’s some info about the Big Read to whet your appetite if you would like to join in:
Like the sound of working through this book with others around the world? Want to be inspired in your discipleship journey through poetry, creativity and input from a range of voices over Lent? Want to delve into the Bible with your cell group, and share some of those conversations with others through social media?
JOIN THE BIG READ FOR LENT 2014!
Think about how deeply you’d like to be involved and choose from the following options:
- just read the book;
- access FREE house-group study materials (developed by Rev Dr Kate Bruce and Dr Bex Lewis)
A menu which includes Nibbles (conversation starters); Main Course (Bible materials, author videos, reflections, questions); Dessert (a prayerful activity); After Dinner Chocs (something to take away and sink your teeth into, or suck on, over the week);
- participate in a Facebook group (http://j.mp/FBBigRead) sharing ideas and discussing Big Read themes
- join discussions through Twitter using the hashtag #bigread14;
- take advantage of tips, tricks, interviews and training in social media (materials can be found via http://bigbible.org.uk/digilit/) in order to contribute online through word, image or sound.
- Participate in #Do1NiceThing each day, in daily activities inspired by the poems, provided by Love Your Streets (Street Angels)
Materials related to The Big Read 2014, and opportunities to engage with it, can be accessed via http://bigbible.org.uk/tag/bigread14, whilst Dr Sara Batts has provided some useful thinking on running housegroups.
The daily readings start on 2 March 2014, with Ash Wednesday (the official start of Lent) on 5 March. Lent finishes on 17 April 2014, with the readings finishing on 26 April.
DOWNLOAD the postcard (PDF) – includes a beautiful poem on simplicity, or contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like some to distribute in your church.