WHAT IS LENT?
For centuries Christians from many traditions have observed the season of Lent, modeled after Jesus’ 40-day fast in the wilderness. Lent is a time of repentance and rediscovery of God’s grace.
Lent is an opportunity for both personal and communal
renewal and growth. Individual believers are encouraged to withdraw into the
wilderness with Jesus by taking on a temporary limitation and adding spiritual
practices to foster a deeper communion with God. It is a chance to take stock
of your spiritual condition in light of the gospel and to seek a greater
influence of the Holy Spirit. Corporately, it is a time of preparation for
remembering Christ’s suffering and death during Holy Week and celebrating his
victorious resurrection at Easter.
WHEN IS LENT?
At Chatham we will
begin the Lent season on Sunday, March 1 and end on Easter morning, April 12.
HOW WILL WE OBSERVE LENT AT CHATHAM?
On Friday, Feb. 28 at 7 p.m. we'll gather for prayer in preparation for Lent.
Then each Friday evening during Lent we'll meet to pray
together with a specific emphasis on confession, repentance and renewal. Lenten Prayer Nights are now streaming on our Facebook page at 7 p.m.
During the season of Lent
we'll have a special sermon series to help us apply the Gospel to particular struggles in our lives. Sunday morning services are now streaming live on our Facebook page at 10:30 a.m.
Our Holy Week services
will include Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter. Watch for updates regarding Holy Week.
WHAT SHOULD I DO DURING LENT?
It is critical to keep in mind that the point of Lent is not to observe rituals or take part in programs. The goal is to pursue a deeper relationship with God. The main question is: What will help you get closer to the Lord? Consider the following three areas:
Give up. Commit to the biblical discipline of fasting. In its most basic and common form, fasting is total abstinence from food. Fasting should never become a means of manipulating God into giving us what we want, like a hunger strike. Instead, it is an expression of our humility and dependence on God. If your health allows it, consider fasting every Friday during Lent (intentionally skipping one, two or all three meals that day). Remember to stay hydrated. You can also do a partial fast by giving up certain things that exert an influence over us or seem particularly important. Consider fasting from TV, social media, video games, or other forms of entertainment; coffee, soda, or other stimulants; meat or sweets; alcohol; sex; sleep. Partial fasts sharpen our spiritual appetite and make us more aware of God’s presence and power.
Give in. Commit
to additional spiritual disciplines. You can do something with your family or
as a small group, or participate in Friday night prayer meetings at church. You
can follow a daily Lenten devotional; increase your Bible reading time; add
confession, singing, intercession, or some other kind of prayer to your regular
time with God; or go on prayer walks. Consider focusing on a particular area of
growth like humility or gracious speech.
Give away. Commit
to generous giving of your money, time, and energy for the benefit of others.
Consider giving financially to missions, benevolence, someone in need, or the
church. Look for opportunities to serve someone by giving them your time or
using your skills for their good. We'll have an opportunity this season to support students in need at Armstrong Elementary.
Additionally, to help us remember that our sacrifices and disciplines are a response to Christ’s finished work on our behalf, use Sundays as feast days to relax your Lenten commitments.
WHAT RESOURCES CAN I USE?
Aaron Damiani, The Good of Giving Up: Discovering the Freedom of Lent (Chicago, Moody, 2017)
John Piper, A Hunger for God: Desiring God through Fasting and Prayer (Wheaton: Crossway, 1997). Free download at desiringgod.org/books/a-hunger-for-god
On Media Fasting:
Sarah Gregor, Going Dark for More of His Light: Prepping for a 40 Day Social Media Fast article, miniministry.com
Henri Nouwen, Show Me the Way: Daily Lenten Readings (New York: Crossroad, 1992)
Nancy Guthrie, ed. Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross: Experiencing the Passion and Power of Easter (Wheaton: Crossway, 2009)