Lent 2020

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Lent 2020



I have some quiet time all alone in the house this morning and am doing some final mental preparations for Lent, which begins tomorrow (Ash Wednesday).

For those who are unaware, Lent is the 40-day period (excluding Sundays) of fasting and penitence before Easter, which is the highest Christian holiday. This 40 day period has been practiced for centuries by Christians in solidarity and remembrance of Jesus’ 40 days in the wilderness before he began his public ministry, during which time he fasted, prayed, and was tested and tempted by Satan. 

The history of Lent and all of its various practices is long and multi-dimensional, and I invite you to do an Internet search to learn of the various practices by various Christian denominations over the years. However, if I may distill it quite down for you, Lent is a time for Christians to recommit to their faith in a genuine way. Fasting can take whatever form necessary for the disciple to remove the mini (or mega) idols from their lives that prevent regular, holistic connection with God. One of the ideas here is that whenever a disciple thinks about or reaches for one of these vices, it will serve as a reminder to pray and reengage with God. Further, in addition to fasting from incumbrances, disciples often use Lent as a time to reengage or newly engage with spiritual practices and disciplines that aid in this recommitment to the faith. 

For two years in a row, I believe, I’ve stepped away from social media during Lent. While planning to do the same this year, I felt God’s call to do more—to take a deeper look at the cultural chains of this life that are preventing deep spiritual awakening for me while also continuing my commitment to The Great Commission in Matthew 28:16-20. 

I’ll take a minute now to outline my Lenten practices for 2020:

  1. In addition to stepping away from social media, I will delete all unnecessary apps from my phone, including games and even the Kindle app. I have plenty of physical copies of books to read. I will, however, leave the Audible app and Podcast app on my phone as I typically listen to those while driving. 
  2. In keeping with the spirit of The Great commission, I will regularly update this blog during Lent. I’ll share insights of my own journey as well as resources for those who may be curious or seeking. 
  3. My phone will not be by my side when I’m in the house. I will set it on the desk near our house phone. My phone has become an idol and a false source of all things, and I lose connection to the Source more often than I’d like to admit.
  4. Clean as possible eating, and no alcohol. Setting aside the junk helps me think clearer, sleep better, and be more present. It will be easier to get up in the early hours of the morning for prayer if I’m running on all cylinders.
  5. In addition to setting the aforementioned things aside, I’ll be recommitting to spiritual practices that have fallen by the wayside for me and my family. These include morning Bible reading (I’m presently reading and making notes on Psalms), family devotional time in the evening, prayer before meals, and prayer first thing in the morning and just before bed. Further, I will move to the front of the reading line books in the faith space. 

Below I’m going to include the Litany of Penitence, from the Book of Common Prayer. This is the liturgical prayer book used by Episcopalians, which I find helpful in times like these. This set of prayers is beautiful and asks that the faithful consider each of these things in the scope of their lives and the broader community. There is plenty to repent of and be prayerful over. For those practicing Lent, I wish you a contemplative and rewarding season reconnecting with God. Remember to check this blog periodically during Lent for musings, updates, and resources.

Litany of Penitence

The Celebrant and People together, all kneeling

Most holy and merciful Father:
We confess to you and to one another,
and to the whole communion of saints
in heaven and on earth,
that we have sinned by our own fault
in thought, word, and deed;
by what we have done, and by what we have left undone.

The Celebrant continues

We have not loved you with our whole heart, and mind, and
strength. We have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We
have not forgiven others, as we have been forgiven.
Have mercy on us, Lord.

We have been deaf to your call to serve, as Christ served us.
We have not been true to the mind of Christ. We have grieved
your Holy Spirit.
Have mercy on us, Lord.

We confess to you, Lord, all our past unfaithfulness: the
pride, hypocrisy, and impatience of our lives,
We confess to you, Lord.

Our self-indulgent appetites and ways, and our exploitation
of other people,
We confess to you, Lord.

Our anger at our own frustration, and our envy of those
more fortunate than ourselves,
We confess to you, Lord.

Our intemperate love of worldly goods and comforts, and
our dishonesty in daily life and work,
We confess to you, Lord.

Our negligence in prayer and worship, and our failure to
commend the faith that is in us,
We confess to you, Lord.

Accept our repentance, Lord, for the wrongs we have done:
for our blindness to human need and suffering, and our
indifference to injustice and cruelty,
Accept our repentance, Lord.

For all false judgments, for uncharitable thoughts toward our
neighbors, and for our prejudice and contempt toward those
who differ from us,
Accept our repentance, Lord.

For our waste and pollution of your creation, and our lack of
concern for those who come after us,
Accept our repentance, Lord.

Restore us, good Lord, and let your anger depart from us;
Favorably hear us, for your mercy is great.

Accomplish in us the work of your salvation,
That we may show forth your glory in the world.



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