Today starts the Lent Book Series. As I’ve mentioned before, this is something of an experiment. But as e-mails from local writers have come in, I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how varied and interesting are the submissions. Plan on this being an annual feature here.
I’ve struggled with how to start off this series for Lent, what book to choose—it seemed a big burden for any one book. So how to start?
Initially, I wanted to feature a book that I plan to use in my April column as a mid-Lent pick-me-up, I’m enjoying it so much. But when one of my guest writers here chose that as her book to feature, I thought it best to hold off (though I told her I will likely still put it in my April column).
I’m starting with the Holy Father’s theme for Lent 2014:
“He became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich.” from 2 Cor 8:9.
(Each year, the Holy Father releases a letter in advance of Lent that features a Scripture verse and a short message about living the season.)
Consider this an invitation to the Holy Father’s message for Lent. Here’s a link and it’s well-worth reading.
Reading through this message has me pondering— what does it mean to be poor? What does it mean to be rich? How does Lent help to focus on what’s really important us during this season?
One idea that’s been really sticking with me, but I’m not ready to commit to this year, is a compelling idea from Susan Vogt’s new book Blessed by Less: Clearing Your Life of Clutter by Living Lightly. One Lent, Susan and her husband in 2012 did the Food Stamp Challenge—living on the daily amount of about $4.50 a day, for the course of Lent. She blogged about it beginning here. I wonder how that would work with a family of five—we’d have $22.50 a day. Her blog posts reference how long it took to shop and how hard it was to eat healthfully.
I wrote before about how I’m giving up my Fitbit for Lent. I know that sounds goofy, and it was funny the comments on Facebook, but I promise there is a meaning to it, and I hope to write about that in the next week or so.
Reading-wise, as I mentioned in my March column, I did pull off the shelf In Conversation with God Volume 2, and plan to read those reflections daily and encourage the teens here to do so as well.
We have also been trying to fit more silence in at home. I homeschool our two younger children, and we decided to make Friday lunches silent during Lent.
Today, Ash Wednesday was our a practice day, and it worked out pretty well. We set the timer for 20 minutes and ate silently. We lit a candle, and agreed in advance that we wouldn’t take the time to read, either. It was interesting, all the sounds one notices!
During the time, I recalled several things we needed at the grocery store, and quickly added them to the grocery list on my iPhone. My 10-year-old wrote on a piece of paper about two-thirds of the way through, “This is hard.” We wondered later if those were not “in the spirit” of it. But we made it through.
So let me put those two simple questions out there:
What are you doing for Lent?
What are you reading for Lent?