Dear CU family,
Today marks the beginning of the Lenten Season. These next 40 days leading up to Easter, a season meant to mirror Jesus’ 40 days of temptation in the wilderness, probably mean different things to each of you, depending on your own background and experiences. For some, Lent may bring to mind religious duty and bad church experiences. For others, Lent is quite foreign, a practice in which you’ve never participated and have no real experience. And, for still others, this part of the Christian Calendar is your favorite, a time that has proven to be rich and wonderful.
This year, no matter what your past experiences and current ideas of Lent might be, we invite you to consider joining us as we spend these 40 days together journeying to the cross. Perhaps no time of the Christian year has more potential to foster within us, both as individuals and as a community, a deep, rich and authentic faith in Jesus. These 40 days focus our attention – our minds, hearts and souls – on our creatureliness, brokenness, helplessness and need for a Savior. This season aims to rip away all pretense and deception, the very masks we hide behind to prove ourselves better and stronger than we really are, both to our friends and to God. It’s a painful season that leads, prayerfully, to unimaginable joy at the foot of the cross.
As you consider what this season might look like for you, here are some resources to consider:
- Journey to the Cross: This daily Lenten devotional begins on Ash Wednesday. I (Justin) have found this one to be rich and powerful. You can download a free PDF version here.
- A Way Other than Our Own: Devotions for Lent: Walter Brueggemann, an Old Testament professor at Columbia Theological Seminary, in this short Lenten devotional, has a way of beautifully bringing to life the text of the Bible. This one will cost you a few bucks, but we think it will be well worth the money.
- Liturgical Meditations | Lent: This short video put out by FULLER studio, is a bit different in terms of what we usually expect in a devotional, but the imagery is stunning and plucks at different heart-strings than the usual text-heavy devotionals.
- The Repentance Project: This new Lenten resource focuses on racism, particularly in America. The aim of the project is focused on “enabling all of us to really RECOGNIZE this (racism’s) persistent legacy, REPENT with sorrow, and RESPOND meaningfully, in the context of RELATIONSHIPS.” I (Justin) plan to follow along with this community these next 40 days.
Grounded: Finding God in the World – A Spiritual Revolution: “While some might find her (the author’s) criticisms of orthodox, historic evangelicalism a bit stereotypical, much of her critique is timely.
Matching these devotionals with various forms of prayer and fasting, both individually and communally, will prove to be powerful. We (Gianna, Laurel and Justin) will also begin Morning Prayer Bites again, so be looking out for those in the days to come. We are looking forward to walking alongside you in this season!
gianna, laurel and justin