The addition and subtraction of Lent
Seasons of seeking God, and elevated intentionality in spiritual practices like Lent or Advent are useful. “Grace removes earning; it does not remove effort,” writes Dallas Willard. So we preach grace and encourage people in their efforts to be “trained /gymnastisized in godliness” (1 Timothy 4:7). -Bill Hogg, C2C rep.
We asked members of the BFL to share a glimpse into their choices of taking on or giving up habits as discipleship training in the season leading up to Easter.
David Miller, Que. rep: My wife Patricia and I set apart Good Friday as a day of fasting as a way of expressing thanks and remembering that Christ gave himself for our sins. The life we now live is rooted in his life given for us. Friday evening, we break the fast, celebrating our joy in belonging to God in Christ.
Paul Doerksen, Man. rep.: I read materials on Lenten themes, most helpfully, Alan Lewis’ Between Cross and Resurrection, a fantastic treatment of Holy Saturday.
Paul J. Loewen, Alta. conference pastor: I have given up coffee and media in the morning and focused it toward spending time with God in prayer.
Ed Willms, Ont. executive director: I have been involved in 40 for 40: forty days of prayer with 40 minutes dedicated during that Lent season, a significant event for me personally and my church.
Ingrid Reichard, vice-chair (2015): I start by asking God how he is inviting me to draw near to him this year. I wait, listening and eventually an idea arises. Sometimes it is fasting, other times it is increased reading (the Bible or a Christian writer) or times of prayer, or giving time or money as God puts people on my heart.
Keith Poysti, Man. conference minister: Scriptures relating to Christ’s passion (Isaiah 53, Psalm 22 and the Gospel narratives) help me remember how to participate in Christ’s resurrection life. Daily during Lent, I read a short passage 3 times, asking what God wants me to see and hear, and pray for God’s help to live out what I receive.
Andrew Dyck, MBBS rep.: Some years ago, I felt invited to fast from certain ambitions preoccupying me. I needed to leave them with God and be faithful with the work that was already in front of me.
Ben Kramer, Sask. rep: In the first years [of discovering the Lenten tradition], I made common sacrifices like coffee and chocolate, and less common things like talk radio – that was the hardest. After having kids, I added things like Resurrection Eggs: each contains a visual cue that reminds our 3 boys about Jesus’ sacrifice and resurrection.