In the Episcopalian tradition, Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Saturday, the day before Easter. Because I am Episcopalian, at least in name, not in church attendance, that is how long I will be observing Lent. Here is what I plan on doing for Lent, in accordance with invitation from the Book of Common Prayer (p. 265) to observe Lent “by self-examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting, and self-denial; and by reading and meditating on God’s holy Word”:
- Starting Lent with a day off from work today during which my wife and I are attending an Ash Wednesday service at our church and then staying in a meditative frame of mind the rest of the day by listening to quiet music and reading.
- Praying Daily Devotions both morning and at the close of the day, using the website of the Forward Movement, a ministry of the Episcopal Church. The devotions also include links to readings from the Bible for the day, which I plan on reading too.
- Reading Lent Is Not Rocket Science: An Exploration of God, Creation, and the Cosmos: Meditations for 40 Days of Lent by W. Nicholas Knisely, the 13th and current bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Rhode Island. According to his biography on the diocesan website, Knisely was a graduate student at the University of Delaware when he decided to leave behind his studies of Physics and Astronomy and was sent to Yale/Berkeley Divinity School to study for the priesthood. He also taught Physics and Astronomy for nearly seven years at Lehigh University while he was serving in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
- Denying myself alcohol and soda throughout Lent.
- Ending Lent by going to church that Saturday, Holy Saturday, or Sunday, Easter, depending on my schedule.
If you are a Christian and observe Lent, what are your plans for the season? If you belong to another faith tradition, do you have practices within it to reflect on our faith daily and/or periodically? Anything you read for your particular faith? If you have no faith tradition, how do you relax/meditate/stay calm?
I used my post from last year on my Lenten Plans 2019 as a template for this post.
18 thoughts on “Lenten Plans 2020”
I am not a religious person, but to relax I read (no surprise), do deep breathing, and sometimes just sit at the beach and contemplate the ocean.
Sometimes I wish we lived near a beach.
I don’t have any faith traditions.
I’m pretty chill in general so I don’t really need to relax/meditate/stay calm. I have meditated, but I usually doze off without ever really getting into the meditation. LOL
On the rare occasions when I am actually stewing about something and can’t fall asleep, I listen to a podcast or music.
I feel closest to God when I’m outside and I’m always hyper-aware of everything around me. This morning I was saying “Thank you!!!” for the bee-u-tee-ful way the rising sun was shining only on the very tops of the trees. The sky was dark and the lower part of the trees were dark but it was like a spotlight was shining on the tops of the trees.
So yah, I’m constantly saying thankyouthankyouthankyou for the trees and the sky and the birds and the cutie-pie animals. It all makes me so happy.
Well, it’s good that you’re “pretty chill in general.” How do you stay so chill?
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Hmm…IDK really? The only times I get like REALLY upset are 1. Car trouble 2. Laid off from work. I don’t have kids so I’m sure that helps. My job is total chill. I just have a boring life I guess. Lol
Blessed Lent Bryan!
Thanks for sharing.
I’m Orthodox Christian. We don’t have Mardi Gras nor Ash Wednesday. Instead, we have Forgiveness Sunday and Clean Monday. So our Lent always begins on a Monday, Clean Monday in the sense of cleanness, purity, like starting with a clean slate with the Lord, and abstaining from most food to leave more room to the Lord. If possible, we eat very little that day, uncooked food, nuts, that type of things.
During the whole of Lent, we don’t eat meat, fish, eggs and dairy products (like actually most of Wednesdays and Fridays, all year long) – which required a lot of creative meals!
We have a preparation period to Lent, so we have already stopped eating meat a week ago.
The day before Clean Monday, we call this Sunday: Forgiveness Sunday. After the regular Sunday Mass, which we call Divine Liturgy, we have a Forgiveness Service, where each parishioner asks forgiveness from each. It’s a very powerful and beautiful service.
The priest starts asking forgiveness to all. Then a parishioner comes and asks forgiveness to the priest, then stands next to him. Then another parishioner asks forgiveness to the priest, then to the parishioner standing next to the priest, and then that 2nd parishioner stands next to the other parishioner, etc.
The way we ask forgiveness is powerful: if we are fit enough we do a full prostration to the floor in front of each other (down on your knees, and your forehead touching the floor – you may have seen Muslims doing that, which obviously they originally borrowed from the Christians). Then we say, ‘forgive me my sister/brother’, and we answer ‘God forgives’, and we hug. If we can’t physically kneel, we bow, or the younger one kneels and the older one bows. So, if there are a lot of people, you imagine the number of prostrations we do, as you do it with each parishioner. It usually takes me several days for my muscles to be back to normal. It hurts, but I think there’s an important message here about the power of asking/giving forgiveness.
And after that we have our equivalent to Mardi Gras, that is, finishing all the eggs, dairy products and fish. I’m in a Russian parish, so we do bliny (Russian crepes). A family living next to our parish invites the whole parish for the bliny. Another very communal time.
Next Sunday is our Forgiveness Sunday.
The first week of Lent, we have a prayer Service every evening, from Monday-Thursday. It’s called the Canon of Saint Andrew of Crete, a very beautiful long poem/prayer written in the 8th century made of many verses from Scripture about repentance. It’s very long, so we cut it up in 4 sections, hence the 4 days. After the section of the day, we read the Life of Saint Mary of Egypt (so also in 4 parts). For several years, I have been asked to be the one reading her Life, also a very powerful beautiful text about what wonders repentance can do in your life.
Personally, apart from my regular daily prayer regimen, I plan on being more faithful at reading from a spiritual book every night, before reading anything else. Weather permitting, I also want to go more often to join the parishioners who meet once a week for an hour of silent prayer in our church.
I apologize for this long presentation, but as I believe very few of you know about these beautiful traditions, I thought I would share.
I wish you all a very blessed and fruitful Lent.
Maybe you could do your own blog post. 🙂
Thanks Bryan. I kept my text, and yes, I’ll probably post something for Clean Monday on my Orthodox website https://myrtleskete.com
This is all new to me, Emma. I think you should do a post about it.
I plan to observe Lent by denying myself sweets and by practicing loving my enemies. I forgot it was the start of Lent this morning and spent a half-hour ranting to my son about my loathing of a certain prominent American political figure. Maybe Lent doesn’t actually start until I received the ashes? In any case, I hope to do better tomorrow.
Did you get the ashes? Do you feel better now? 🙂
I did. I do.
I started a Lent study on the YouVersion app today. It will end on Holy Saturday. I am also, loosely, doing the 40 bags in 40 days thing so I am kind of giving up stuff.
Did you do the 40 bags in 40 days thing before? If not you, then I do think I remember seeing someone mention it before.
Lisa from Lit and Life does it. I’ve done something similar to it but not that exact challenge.
Ah….gotchya. Well, good luck with that. 🙂
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