The Ponder Effect | What Lenten practice will I undertake?
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What Lenten practice will I undertake?

You may or may not observe Lent. This may be because you are or are not a practicing Christian. Either way (and this may be unorthodox to say) but I am of the mind that a Lenten-like observance is valuable to all of us, no matter our religious stance. It is valuable because it asks us to devote ourselves by denying ourselves.

This happens to be exactly what Christianity is all about. What is so striking about it, and about Lent in particular, is how entirely countercultural it is. The first will be last. The weak will be strong. The poor will be rich. Love your enemy. Thy will be done. All exactly the opposite of what we are told in the secular world.

Same with Lent. Abstain from the things you enjoy—not because you will look better or feel better but because it has nothing to do with you whatsoever. Devote yourself to a new practice not because your life will improve but because life will be less focused on you. (The fact that it will improve is simply a natural consequence of that re-orientation). Ultimately, Lent is a call to a radically different way of living, which pretty much of all of us need.

This brings us to the question of what Lenten(like) practice we might undertake. Whether or not we are a practicing Christian, whether or not we are making preparations for Easter, what specific things can we give up—or take on—that will shift our focus away from being so me-centric? What practices can we undertake that will orient us instead toward something bigger, more transcendent and more glorious than we can begin to fathom?

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6 Ponderings
  • Anonymous

    March 3, 2019 at 8:15 pm

    What a beautifully written blog. Actually the ideas you expressed about Lent are exactly what Christ taught in Matthew 5-7 a passage called “The Sermon On The Mount”. It should be a standard practice and way of thinking not just for Easter in my opinion. If people however start thinking about this at Lent, then that is a great thing. Thanks for sharing

  • Anonymous

    March 3, 2019 at 11:41 pm

    It may sound silly, but abstaining from commenting on most Facebook posts has been a daily Lenten practice of mine more recently. I feel like so much of what we can say on that platform (and others) just doesn’t need to be put out there. When it really matters and it needs to be said, hopefully we are saying it to one another face to face and not on screen.

  • Anonymous

    March 4, 2019 at 4:53 pm

    I really enjoy the practice of praying in color for Lent Somethings I use the suggested templates and other Lents, I just use blocks. Here is link with templates and suggestions by my friend and author, Sybil MacBeth if you are interested.

  • Anonymous

    March 6, 2019 at 2:41 pm

    I am going to center my Lenten practice on a mantra: Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. I will return to this verse phrase as often as I can as I go about my day. In an effort to draw near to God in a more tangible way, I plan to continue my practice of morning meditation/prayer/scriptural reading.

  • Anonymous

    March 6, 2019 at 2:42 pm

    I would like to bookend my day with prayer. The first thing I should do when I wake up is praise God and the last thing I should do before I rest is praise God.

  • Anonymous

    March 6, 2019 at 3:36 pm

    I have recently begun a daily and nightly ritual with a reading, a meditation, and an oil. My Lenten practice is to simply maintain this time of reflection. So often we get excited about a new trend or behavior and then let it go. I hope to continue this practice throughout the entire 40-day period.