A Lent for the Ones Who Need Something Different
Looking, walking, seeing
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There have been plenty of years in my life when the work of undoing during Lent has felt, for lack of a better word, doable. I had the margin to sacrifice or the bandwidth to even imagine a good fast. This year is not one of them. My brain is stretched to its edges and the thought of giving up something else for Lent just feels like an unhealthy kind of deprivation. Reading a devotional or email each day or each week sounds similar.
One of my practices for 2023 is the practice of being here, which, for me, means being acutely aware of what here is asking of me and what being here means for me. Because of this, I was drawn to Matt Canlis’s little book based on his documentary Godspeed. 40 days of walking around one’s neighborhood, or parish, as Matt calls it. 15 minutes a day, a few sentence meditation in one’s mind as they go. This I can do, I thought to myself, not a devotional or fast, but a sensed practice of moving.
I also bought another small booklet called The Art of Lent by Sister Wendy Beckett, where each day has a famous painting to think about. Against, not a devotional, but a sensed practice of looking.
Lastly, I bought Justin McRoberts and Scott Erickson’s book of forty days of prayer, each prayer being one sentence placed alongside one of Scott’s illustrations. For me, this is a sense practice of seeing.
I will not be leading anyone through these books, though the offer is out there to any one of you on your own journey of being here. I may have some reflections on the practices as I go, but I’m not committing to it. If you would like to join, comment below and I will compile a list of your names and keep you in my heart and mind over the next 40 days as well. If you’d like to view the names of the commenters below, as well, and pray for them too, I know they’d all appreciate it.
Let’s embody Lent this year with our bodies and eyes.
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I'm attending an Episcopal church after approx 40 years in the SBC. Lord willing,, tonight will be my first Ash Wednesday service. I've done a lenten fast before but never as part of a liturgical congregation. I'm trying not to overwhelm myself. Thank you for your words.
I love the idea of being present and reflective as a way of fasting. Praying this Lenten season brings deeper awareness of our hearts and the way God is working to redeem and bring new life to them