I’m relatively new to the Liturgical Calendar. I’ve started with Advent by adding in a short devotional and Common Prayer. It’s provided a meaningful and simple set time to pause and take stock of my spiritual life, for which I’m always grateful.
This year, I’m diving in with some more intention, and thought I’d share a bit of my journey and what’s helping me take Lent a little more seriously.
If you aren’t familiar with the liturgical calendar, you can get a good introduction on this podcast series on the ART OF SIMPLE.
Here’s a few things I’m finding helpful through this season in an effort to make it meaningful.
Subscribe to a Daily Devotional for Lent.
A friend just shared some artistic daily devotionals with me that you can get through Biola University. I’ve really enjoyed it so far. Even if you don’t do this, this thought is worth taking a moment to think about:
“It’s all too easy for us to underestimate our smallness in the universe. We spend most of our lives surrounded with objects scaled to the adult human frame, and so we come to believe that this universe is also scaled to suit us. The simple fact is that it’s not. In fact, the universe is so immense that even the idea of its size is beyond our capacity. And it’s this fact that makes many who study its immensity balk at the claims of human religions. How foolish that anyone would dare to suggest that the God who made all that would even spare a thought for our planet, much less listen to the paltry concerns of one of its even smaller and less significant inhabitants. They ask, “What is man, that a God would be mindful of him?”
And in this season of Lent, I think we ought to start there—by meditating on the absurdity of God’s care.
I so often think myself big. To comprehend God’s love for me I must remind myself daily that I am small. Ludicrously so. My life is unbelievably brief. My concerns and troubles are not worth mentioning even compared to other creatures who are as tiny as I am. And yet the God who spoke a billion stars into being loves me. Listens to me. Was willing to die for me.
It’s not an easy thing to think about. Nothing I can say can make you feel the way I did looking at that photograph. And it’s deeply unflattering to our sense of self to even attempt this imaginative work. But it is only in the light of our profound smallness that we can really appreciate the wonder of the psalmist at the intimacy of God’s love and care. It doesn’t make sense. It is utterly undeserved. And remembering that this is so strips us of our sense that we are owed God’s attention, that his constant reception is only to be expected. No, Christ’s regard for me is pure, astonishing gift, for I am dust.
Almighty God, you have created us out of the dust of the earth: Grant that the ashes we receive in Lent may be to us a sign of our mortality and penitence, that we may remember that it is only by your gracious gift that we are given everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen. (From the Anglican Book of Common Prayer)
There are so many resources out there for Lent, and it can be a bit of a shot in the dark. I purchased this after it was recommended on the Simple Show (see podcast recommend above.)
Find something meaningful you can abstain from or add into your life through Lent.
I mostly hear people talking about giving up social media or chocolate for Lent. I wanted to be more intentional about adding in morning devotional time through Lent and making art a part of this experience. So every week, I’m working on a new piece – a quote or verse to art – that helps me experience Lent through the senses.
May you find Lent this year to be a meaningful time of rediscovery of the mystery of your faith too. I’d love to hear how you observe Lent and what it’s meaning to you!
Step by Step,