We don’t have to search far to find evidence of our sinful nature at the behest of history; this from our spiritual ancestors:
“Then Pilate asked, ‘Why, what evil has he [Jesus] done?’ But they shouted all the more, ‘Let him be crucified!’”
~Matthew 27:23 (NRSV)
The traditional purpose of Lent is the penitential preparation of a believer as they approach Easter, and given that it is our sinful nature to fall away and crucify the Lord afresh (Hebrews 6:6) we have sufficient reason to honour this 40-day season, which in some way reminds us of our need to repent.
As we prepare our hearts in the approach of a solemn season for reflection, we can link the need to connect with Jesus, via our repentance, with one activity per day that we would not normally do.
This activity then becomes sacred—because we do it cognisant in the Presence of the Lord.
40 Activities To Give Meaning To Lent
1. Search the web for Lent articles and readings and make a simple, achievable plan.
2. Give something: find something to give, and give it, and make a little event of it.
3. Listen to someone—really listen.
4. Don’t use or throw out one plastic bag.
5. Go and worship; even better, find somewhere different to do it.
6. Watch the stars from your rooftop—lie horizontally; enjoy the majesty and mystery of the heavens.
7. Fast and pray; even better, enjoy the body emptying itself.
8. Walk or ride, and give a pint of blood.
9. For one day, breathe. Breathe in... breathe out. From the diaphragm.
10. Oil the hinges on a squeaky door.
11. Eat something that you’ve never eaten before.
12. Don’t travel, not today—not for one whole 24-hour period. Call it a ‘mental health day’.
13. Contemplate for one entire hour what you will be doing this day 10 years from now.
14. Get your hands on a foreign newspaper; attempt to read it.
15. Whatever you do, today, don’t interrupt one single time.
16. Have an encounter with God—something fresh and clear.
17. Do Easter shopping—but shop for meaning.
18. Pray for the third smallest country in the world.
19. Find something substantial to do that can be finished, today.
20. Visit a sick person, even better a relative.
21. Climb a mountain, any old mountain, even the metaphorical mountain.
22. Go four doors down, knock at that door, smile and introduce yourself; offer them something of value. Just be friendly.
23. Find the horizon. Peer at it. Double points for a sunrise or sunset.
24. Get out of bed the opposite side and put your socks on inside out.
25. Plan your upcoming Easter with thought of loving family.
26. Kiss someone, but only with their permission. Stop long enough for a hug.
27. Take the full 33-minutes out to watch the 180 Movie and reflect for another 33 minutes over what it means.
28. Resolve to write a book. Even if that book is the story of your life that no one else will read but your loved ones.
29. Reach out to the disabled. Go and serve a meal or push someone’s wheelchair or read a story to a sick child.
30. Have a tea party with a close friend you haven’t seen for ‘too long’.
31. Find some way of giving away $10—i.e. to someone who really needs it.
32. Nothing with a switch shall be turned on today!
33. Look up the Penitential Psalms, read them and then pray. Select one verse to memorise.
34. Find someone who is willing and sing before them.
35. Drive a car (if you have a license and have access to a car) and enjoy the drive.
36. Smile. Just simply smile today.
37. Purchase something you’ve been putting off purchasing; feel guilt free about it.
38. Pat a dog, stroke a cat, or be friendly to an animal. Better still, get one and keep it.
39. Let the Lord lead you to a sermon on the Internet; listen to it three times.
40. Worship. Today, find the time to worship in Spirit and truth.
All of the above things can be done with a heart never closer to God; because they are so different to our unintentional lives we will be reminded of God’s Presence with us.
When the mob called for Jesus to be crucified they thought not of justice; Lent is a time to think of justice, and to connect to the spiritual reality that we are never too far from mob mentality.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.
Postscript: Lent begins on Ash Wednesday which, for 2012, is February 22.