A Holy Lent
In the history of the church the Christian household is often conceived of as a “domestic church” — a place of worship, service and formation, devoted to God, and a microcosm of the larger body of Christ. The season of Lent, beginning with Ash Wednesday on March 1 this year, presents a fantastic opportunity to make our homes spaces of churchly formation.
Lent is a season of preparation as the church approaches Easter. Lent provides an opportunity to press more deeply into the reality of following Jesus on the way of the cross through practices of self-denial, contemplation and service. Some Christians fast by giving up a specific food or meal a day or refrain from specific activities. Others engage with this season by reading a specific book that directs their attention to Christ and His call upon our lives, and intentionally practice disciplines related to charity, justice and compassion.
If the season of Lent is new for you, you might be interested to check out Living the Christian Year, which is an introduction to the entire church calendar and involves devotional instructions for each season. Bread and Wine is a collection of writings from different authors for both Lent and the season of Easter. In her book Celebrating the Christian Year, Martha Zimmerman outlines a daily rhythm for families, a schedule of different themes to emphasize through the season, and includes recipes. Similarly, Gertrud Mueller Nelson, in To Dance With God, describes several household practices and ideas for engaging in prayer, fasting and alms-giving. The children’s book Make Room is wonderful resource for introducing the idea of Lent.
These are just a few resources that might be utilized in marking Lent and opening up space for the Holy Spirit to shape our lives, and the life of our homes, in a Godward direction. How might you enter into Lent this year?