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There’s something deeply calming and grounding about observing the liturgical year.
We celebrate. And we rest. We reflect and lament. And celebrate. And then rest again for quite some time.
I love how the liturgical year gently beckons me to fall into this ancient rhythm of celebrating, reflecting, and resting. The liturgical year is quite unassuming. In fact, if I’m not paying attention, it can whisk right by, unnoticed. There have certainly been years like that.
I also like how the liturgical year asks me to be both present in my very real life, while also deeply reflective and aware of what my eyes cannot see– seeing beyond the temporal and lifting my eyes to my Creator.
We are on the cusp of another Lenten season, and I find myself surprised by how quickly this bout of ordinary time has flown by (isn’t that always the truth?!).
I’ve quick gathered a few resources to use during this season of Lent, and I wanted to share in case Lent snuck up on you too.
My friend Aaron Niequist just released a beautiful, powerful, liturgy of lament that you can download for free and use in your regular time of quiet. I don’t know about you, but I don’t do this practice very well. But I believe God invites us into these seasons of lament because He knows what our souls need. We were not made to carry all this brokenness alone– individually or corporately.
Psalm 13. Psalm 5. Psalm 142. Psalm 79. I love that we’ve been given psalms of lament as a model for talking with God.
Walter Brueggeman has a Lent devotional called A Way other than our Own, in which he reminds us that God is constantly inviting us out of our safe, walled cities and onto a path that we might not choose for ourselves. This path is often marked with uncertainty and perhaps discomfort, but also with humility, justice, and peace.
“I imagine Lent for you and for me as a great departure from the greedy, anxious antineighborliness of our economy, a great departure from our exclusionary politics that fears the other, a great departure from self-indulgent consumerism that devours creation. And then an arrival in a new neighborhood, because it is a gift to be simple, it is a gift to be free; it is a gift to come down where we ought to be.” — Walter Brueggeman, A Way other than our Own
Bread and Wine: Readings for Lent and Easter is a favorite of mine, so I’d be amiss if I neglected to recommend it. It’s a collection of essays from a wide variety of Christian leaders, authors, and pastors. I love to read an essay from Henri Nouwen one day followed by something by Dorothy Day the next. I love the voices and experiences represented.
Praying in color has been a fun tradition for our family of 6. During the 40 days of Lent, we clear dinner from the table and then sit down with our Lent calendars + a bucket of colored pens and pencils. A timer goes on for 5 minutes (as well as this Spotify playlist from Sacred Ordinary Days) and we each spend time praying as we color. We each do it in our own way. Sometimes we talk about it. Mostly we don’t. And at least one of us wants to skip because we’re “not in the mood.” But we keep at it: sit and color and pray and ask the Lord to do a work in us.
‘Lent is the autumn of the spiritual life, during which we gather fruit to keep us going for the rest of the year.’ – St. Francis de Sales