Lent starts this Wednesday and there is a range of resources that have been created to help individuals and groups in their Lenten journeys. Here’s just a handful.
Lent is the annual Christian season of fasting and penitence in preparation for Easter, which extends from Ash Wednesday for lasting 40 weekdays to Easter. It is observed by Catholics, Anglicans, and certain other denominations.
What is Lent?
What is Ash Wednesday?
What is Shrove Tuesday?
This Lent, Tearfund is inviting Christians to “reset their faith practises” with a seven-week series of prayer, art and spiritual practices designed to “to help you reset for a better normal”.
“We long to go back to normal. At the same time realising that what we once called normal wasn’t good enough. Now is the time to reset and it begins with our faith.”
Participants can sign up to receive a seven-week curated series of prayer, art and spiritual practices designed to help you make space to listen deeply and respond to God’s invitation to live a better normal in the midst of our ordinary, everyday lives. Each of the seven weeks will focus on a different theme: origin, undone, empty, reset, connect, steward, rest. Reflection contributors include: Kim Hammond from CityLife Church Casey, Liz Milani from The Practice Co, Jon Owen from Wayside Chapel, Kuki Rokhum from our partner The Evangelical Fellowship of India Commission on Relief (EFICOR), Matt Darvas and Beck Wilesmith from Micah Australia, Ruth Padilla DeBorst, author and radio presenter Amanda Viviers, and Jonathan Cornford from Manna Gum.
Tearfund has also put together a resource containing ideas for doing the reset course with others, because “transformation happens in community”.
“Share a meal, speak honestly, pray together. Be changed together,” the Tearfund team encourage.
Take part in Uniting Church’ Australia’s Lent Event … and follow it up with UnitingWorld’s Seven Days or Solidarity
“The season of Lent is an opportunity to reflect on the life of Christ, and re-dedicate ourselves to following in his way of justice and compassion. And it’s an opportunity to take action alongside the global church!” says Uniting Church Australia (UCA) on their ‘Lent Event’ website.
Resources for individuals: UCA are encouraging download their Global Neighbours Bible Study or order a hard copy booklet and read a chapter each week of Lent, along with giving up something in solidarity with those who have less, or taking up a new spiritual discipline for forty days. They are also encouraging people to “donate to our global neighbours in places of critical need”. Plus, there is the added option of taking up a
“40-day challenge” and creating your own fundraising page.
Resources for churches: UCA is encouraging church congregations and their small groups to make use the Global Neighbour Bible studies together over Lent.
And, while COVID-19 restrictions have prevented them from visiting their partners and those they are for and producing weekly stories of transformation during the six weeks of Lent – a resource they were hoping to provide to UCA members – there’s another great resource coming just after Easter as part of the brand new “UnitingWorld’s Seven Days of Solidarity“.
“For seven days starting on April 18, we’ll provide you and your congregation with videos, stories, prayer requests and action ideas to encourage you to lift up your eyes to see where God is at work in the world,” the UCA team promises. “Each day, you’ll encounter the faithful Christian leaders who are training others, equipping people to make a living, working for peace, raising up women and girls, empowering people with disabilities and responding to disasters and a changing climate. Pray and take action as part of our global family of faith.”
“On April 25, come together with your congregation to celebrate God’s faithfulness and pledge yourselves anew to God’s global mission. We’ll show you the incredible gains the Church is making around the world in Christ’s name, and invite you to make a response in prayer and giving.”
Common Grace’s annual Lenten series this year is focused one of the social justice organisation’s tag-lines: “Jesus and justice”.
“It is our hope that this series will lead you into a deeper experience of Jesus and justice. What does it mean to love as Jesus did? How do we learn to see and care for our neighbour? What role does giving and receiving forgiveness play? What does it look like to be filled with the new life that Jesus brings?” the Common Grace team says.
Each week through Lent Common Grace will send participants a video reflection and readings “to draw you closer to Jesus; a closeness which brings transformation to you, then to your community and beyond”. There is also a downloadable Bible study available each week. All these are designed to support individuals as well as church and community groups. Plus, Common Grace has made their Lent series from previous years available on their website for anyone looking to engage more deeply.
Common Grace’s website outlines gives details about the people, passages and topics contributors will cover, with involvement from Michael Frost (Tinsley Institute), Charlene Delos Santos (Director, Surrender Conference), Uncle Graham Paulson (Development Specialist at World Vision Australia, Grant Paulson (Baptist Minister, Queensland); Bishop Kay Goldsworthy (Anglican Archbishop of Perth), Dr Janice McRandal (Wesley Mission Queensland) and Pastor Josh Dowton (Northside Baptist Church, New South Wales).
“I want to prepare my mind and heart for Easter. There aren’t many options other than reading books, or giving something up. So I’ve created Reflections for Easter to remind me of God’s life giving love,” writes Lara, the hand letterer and creator behind Sweet Honeycomb.
“While I made this for me, I want it to be a gentle witness around the home (or wherever it is displayed). There’s a new display card to show every few days starting Ash Wednesday and continuing through to Easter Sunday.”
Eternity’s Kaley Payne used Sweet Honeycomb’s Advent reflections in the lead up to Christmas and said she found them beautiful, bite-sized reflections that were perfect for a busy parent.
The pack include: 16 hand designed A6 display cards; a sustainably sourced Beech wood display block; a printed booklet of short reflections written by Laurel Moffatt to ponder the meaning of each verse; and a sturdy box to keep it safe for years to come. Plus support for those little ones in your life, in a downloadable set of reflections for kids. It is priced at $35.00, with free shipping.