What is Lent?

Lent is traditionally a 40 day period of fasting and reflection, of submitting our impulses and desires to God and seeking God’s design for how things should be.  In Lent, we recognise God’s gift in the story of Easter. This period of 40 days echoes Jesus’ time in the desert before beginning His ministry (see Luke 4:1-13), where He fasted and faced temptation. 

It’s not new - in fact it’s well over 1,000 years old. However, it’s making something of a comeback in Christian practice as we seek more centred and still lives and as we ask how to live well in an age where technology means we are more aware of the effects of what we do on the globe and its people. 

Lent comes most alive when we choose a practice to engage in. Traditionally, it has been a practice of self-denial—choosing to give up something. By doing this we open our lives to God and remove the barriers we place between ourselves and God.  This year, we’re leaning deeply into the practice of lament, which will be unpacked more in the first three emails of the series. 

Let’s enter Lent reflectively. 
Let’s enter it with humility, having been reminded of who we are and who God is. In so doing, we see both Jesus’ and the world’s suffering in the cross, and we celebrate the awe and hope for life anew in the resurrection. 

What to expect

Each week of Lent will have a lament from scripture that we focus on.  On Sunday, you will receive this scripture and a short reflection.  Then from Monday to Friday, you will receive a daily email with a little something to guide your reflection and lament for the week.  It might be a short portion of the main scripture again, a quote to meditate on, a prayer to centre you or an image to reflect on.  This weekly pattern will repeat until Easter.  

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What is lament?

“My God, my God! Why have you forsaken me?”  

Lament, at its heart, is giving voice to the suffering that accompanies deep loss, whatever that loss may be. 

The verse above is from Psalm 22:1 and is perhaps the most well-known lament—the one cried out by Jesus on the cross (Mark 15:34).  In this verse, we see the anguish of Jesus as He cries out to God in pain. This is a common feature of lament, a persistent crying out to God for intervention or explanation. Lament calls upon God to remember His people, their situation, and their struggle from situations where God seems to be hidden or absent.