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 our observation of the 2021 Lent season on Friday, February 19 and end on Easter Sunday morning, April 4.
HOW WILL WE OBSERVE LENT AT CHATHAM?
Tuesday Lenten Devotionals on Facebook
We'll have a new Facebook series called "Lent: Reflections on Prayer" each Tuesday at 7 p.m., with a special introduction to this season on Tuesday, February 16.
Friday Lenten Prayer Nights on Zoom
Starting February 19, we'll meet via Zoom each Friday at 7 p.m. during Lent to pray together with a specific emphasis on confession, repentance and renewal. We'll take a break on March 12 as we participate in Pray for the Lou week. Zoom links will be shared on Realm.
Special Sunday Sermon Series Focus
During the season of Lent, we'll continue in our series "Kingdom Citizens: Living Out the Sermon on the Mount," with a special emphasis on prayer and fasting.
Pray for the Lou Week, March 7-14
During the season of Lent, we will also participate in Pray for the Lou Week, March 7-14. This time will include opportunities to join with other St. Louis and surrounding area churches for regional prayer rallies, prayer walking in area neighborhoods and a special Sunday with pastors across the region preaching from Psalm 24. Find Chatham specific details on our Pray for the Lou Week page.
Our Holy Week services will include Palm Sunday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday.
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?
For 2021, we recommend John Piper's Fifty Reasons Why Jesus Came to Die as a daily devotional during Lent. This resource is available to download as a free e-book or for purchase in multiple formats.
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
Additional Devotional Options:
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)
Paul Tripp, Journey to the Cross: A 40-Day Lenten Devotional (Crossway, 2021)