Lent 2024

I often think of Gordon Cheng's now famous comment "Lent, what a stupid concept" and the discussion that generated, when I think of Lent. But this year it begins on Ash Wednesday, which by coincidence is also Valentine's Day. Anyone doing anything for Lent? I'm still sorting things out, myself.

I admit to being more agnostic than anything these days, but I do think the idea of purification and retreat into a virtual desert or wilderness to get perspective, re-assess priorities, discard stuff that hinders (where possible) and learn to listen to that "still small voice" is invaluable.

Does anyone have any daily prompts or Lenten meditations they might like to share links for?

Comments

  • MaryLouiseMaryLouise Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    I might see if I can find some daily Lenten readings in the Benedictine tradition which is quite balanced and not too demanding. I already subscribe to Richard Rohr's daily meditations with the Center for Action and Contemplation, so that may have a strong Lenten focus.
  • My go-to books for each Lent are "The Lenten Pharmacy," by Edward Hays, A book of daily light Lenten readings, and "Twelve Months of Monastery Soups," by Brother Victor. I tend to eat more soup during Lent and using his cookbook and cooking many of his recipes only during that time of year has become a reminder that it is Lent. Many of them contain no meat so perfect to use on any meatless Lenten days.
  • One Lutheran resource is based on daily Scripture readings for the Passion--this year taken from John. It has a short meditation and reflection/discussion questions for each. I get it via email, but you can also download it or read it online from https://www.lhm.org/lent/. My husband listens to the audio version and uses the large print to follow along.
  • I think one of my favourite Lenten studies may have been one I saw on the old ship when I was a lurker many years ago. It is Faith Odyssey and is based on discussing popular films. It may be a bit dated now. I will also be participating in Lent Madness which has been running for a few years. It's produced by Forward Movement in the USA and as well as the draw of Saints pitted against one another, there are reflections and an opportunity for community chat as well. I'm always keen to see who will take out the Golden Halo as well as learning more about the saints ancient and modern. In some ways it's a bit irreverent, but at the same time the reflections are well written and I enjoy the way it makes me think
  • CaissaCaissa Shipmate
    As in recent years, I am giving up Lent for lent.
  • Gramps49Gramps49 Shipmate
    Different members of my congregation have written reflections on Lenten passages. They are published in a booklet which will be handed out next Sunday. Next Sunday is the congregation's pancake lunch, our answer to the Fat Tuesday tradition of getting rid of the old cooking grease from the previous year.
  • Caissa wrote: »
    As in recent years, I am giving up Lent for lent.

    O - I gave up telling people what I was giving up for Lent a long time ago. None of their business...

    IIRC, some Bible chap said to keep your fasting or whatever secret from all but God.
  • HarryCHHarryCH Shipmate
    While there are many things one might give up for Lent that sound silly or fun, such as sobriety or chastity or parsimony, it does seem reasonable to suggest that every so often, such as once a year, we might be asked to give up something at least for a while, such as being angry with one's sister or eating more than one pound of candy at a time or throwing rock sat the neighbor's dog.. Whatever is given up for Lent does not have be large, but ideally it should be sincere.
  • Celtic KnotweedCeltic Knotweed Shipmate
    edited February 6
    What I've tried to do a few times for Lent is taking something up, rather than giving something up. The roughly 7 weeks is about long enough to get into a new habit.
  • ArielAriel Shipmate
    edited February 6
    Yes - Lent can indeed be about taking something on. Daily "acts of random kindness" seem like a good way forward.
  • Ariel wrote: »
    Yes - Lent can indeed be about taking something on. Daily "acts of random kindness" seem like a good way forward.

    Very much in line with FatherInCharge's ideas (coupled with attendance at Tuesday Holy Hour and Friday Stations of the Cross, too :wink: ).
  • I also follow Lent Madness. I also try and read more, so try and read the psalms through out.
  • Ah, that's a good tip Priscilla, I might try that too!
  • At an Iona Community gathering recently someone talked about giving away something of value - no matter how small - for each day of Lent. That might be interpreted as volunteer time, food for the food bank, and all kinds of things that are worth something to the recipient. I rather like that, and my wife and I are working on it. She is better at it than I am.
  • ArielAriel Shipmate
    Oh well, here we nearly go. I've signed up for some daily email reflections and am mulling over a couple of personal decisions. It looks like meat's going to be off the menu. When did it become acceptable to "break" Lent on Sundays? I'm sure it never used to be that way.

    Anyone giving up social media or the Ship for the duration?
  • HeavenlyannieHeavenlyannie Shipmate
    edited February 12
    I’ve given up social media for Lent in the past. I’ve also been vegan or veggie, and given up alcohol. I quite fancy doing random acts of kindness (raks as they are known in the crafting world).

    I am giving up alcohol for Lent this year.
  • NenyaNenya All Saints Host, Ecclesiantics & MW Host
    I gave up social media - such as I engaged with it, only Facebook and Twitter - months ago and am much better for it. I'm giving up chocolate and sweet things generally; in the past I did a Lent where I'd given up chocolate but considered it perfectly fine to eat three jam doughnuts, which isn't quite the idea. I'm giving up alcohol during the week.

    I'm considering limiting my online engagement with YouTube, as it's far too easy to go down a rabbit hole of suggested clips and end up three hours later... :flushed:
  • Ariel wrote: »
    Oh well, here we nearly go. I've signed up for some daily email reflections and am mulling over a couple of personal decisions. It looks like meat's going to be off the menu. When did it become acceptable to "break" Lent on Sundays? I'm sure it never used to be that way.

    Anyone giving up social media or the Ship for the duration?

    There are some folks who consider that every Sunday is a little Easter, and therefore a proper time to feast--or at least not fast. I don't know enough about the various traditions to tell you exactly who or when, though.
  • As far as the Latin Church is concerned and other communities which have sprung from it Lent since the time of Gregory the Great (pope between 590 and 604 AD) consisted of six weeks of six days before Easter. To make up 40 days 4 days were added later - Ash Wednesday, Thursday after Ash Wednesday, Friday after Ash Wednesday and Saturday after Ash Wednesday.

    Since the period after the Second Vatican Council the Latin Church has considered Lent as ending just before the Liturgy of Maundy Thursday.

    The official opening of Lent is QUADRAGESIMA Sunday, even although it is preceded by the four extra days of fasting before this. (Quadragesima gives us 'quaresima' in Italian,'cuaresima' in Spanish and even 'careme' in French)
    I don't think that the various Eastern rites have an equivalent of Ash Wednesday but ultimately the 40 days are only a guide and it is up to each follower of Christ to decide what they should best do to prepare for Easter.
  • Forthview wrote: »
    I don't think that the various Eastern rites have an equivalent of Ash Wednesday but ultimately the 40 days are only a guide and it is up to each follower of Christ to decide what they should best do to prepare for Easter.

    For us in the Eastern Orthodox Church the 40 day Fast ends on the Friday bfore Palm Sunday, and so beings on "Clean Monday". The fast of Holy Week is separate and much older.

    Sundays in Lent (like most other Sundays except Palm Sunday and Pentecost) still commemorate the Resurrection. Fasting is slightly mitigated on Saturdays and Sundays during Lent (two main meals rather than one, alcohol allowed, etc. but still no meat, fish or dairy produce).
  • Thanks. According to wikipaedia Clean Monday 2024 is on 18th March for those who use the Julian calendar and 12th February for those who use the Gregorian calendar.
  • On a lighter note, maybe, is anyone celebrating The Feast Of Mr Pancake today, prior to taking on the austerities of Lent?

    The Guardian's Stephen Collins has a whimsical take on this subject:


    https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/picture/2024/feb/09/the-fascinating-truth-about-pancake-day-the-stephen-collins-cartoon




  • Forthview wrote: »
    Thanks. According to wikipaedia Clean Monday 2024 is on 18th March for those who use the Julian calendar and 12th February for those who use the Gregorian calendar.

    More precisely it is 18th March for all who calculate the date of Easter by the Julian Calendar, which, as far as I know, is all Eastern Orthodox except the Orthodox Church of Finland.
  • On a lighter note, maybe, is anyone celebrating The Feast Of Mr Pancake today, prior to taking on the austerities of Lent?

    We Orthodox have a Pancake Week, not just a day. The traditional rules for the week before Lent prescribe no meat, but otherwise any foods are permitted every day.
  • NenyaNenya All Saints Host, Ecclesiantics & MW Host
    I always enjoy pancakes when we make them but have neither the time nor the inclination this evening, having been out most of the day and having to orchestrate an early tea for Mr Nen to attend an online meeting.
  • On a lighter note, maybe, is anyone celebrating The Feast Of Mr Pancake today, prior to taking on the austerities of Lent?
    I’m headed into the kitchen in just a few minutes to start on the pancakes.

  • On a lighter note, maybe, is anyone celebrating The Feast Of Mr Pancake today, prior to taking on the austerities of Lent?

    The Guardian's Stephen Collins has a whimsical take on this subject:


    https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/picture/2024/feb/09/the-fascinating-truth-about-pancake-day-the-stephen-collins-cartoon




    One of the big perks as retired clergy is I no longer have to show up for pancakes, underdone, or overcooked by the church youth group each year. Served alongside burned bacon and sweet frozen orange juice. For this, I am truly thankful.
  • :lol:

    Our Place had two Masses yesterday (10am and 730pm), with hymns at the evening service. My Spy tells me that 22 people attended over the two services, which doesn't sound all that brilliant, but is a few more than we used to get at just the evening Mass, which was our previous default practice.

    Given that 25-30 is our usual Sunday morning crowd, I think FatherInCharge is justified in saying that Lent started well. Tomorrow evening sees the first of our Friday *Stations of the Cross* devotions, no doubt with a hymn or two as well as readings and meditations.

    I'm not a great fan of Stations - our pictures are rather dreary black-and-white Edwardian prints, framed and glazed, but the actual images are a bit difficult to see clearly unless one is a foot or so away from them! - though there's usually a handful of the Faithful each Friday, with most people making the effort to attend at least once, or possibly twice.
  • I was laughing about yesterday's English service for Ash Wednesday. My husband was helping our host congregation's pastor, and this was his first time ever to ash somebody. So he was being very careful and making super precise crosses on people's foreheads.

    We had a lot of little ones in church, and they mostly came to his side of the chancel. So there he is, all kitted out in robe and stole, getting down on his knees to reach the toddlers. He managed to spill a bit of ash down one little girl's face and they both got the giggles.

    And given his accent, he was having a hard time not saying, "Remember that you are DUCK, and to DUCK you shall return."
  • @Lamb Chopped I think I'll remember that every Ash Wednesday from now on and I mean that in a good way!!
  • I think i will, too!
  • edited February 17
    Nenya wrote: »
    I gave up social media - such as I engaged with it, only Facebook and Twitter - months ago and am much better for it. I'm giving up chocolate and sweet things generally

    I'm there with the sweet stuff too. I don't follow my RC friends and have Sundays off - it takes me two weeks to get over sugar 'cravings' (that sounds like a fancy phrase, but it's a fair one) and ten minutes to put myself back to square one, so staying off it is easier. I ought to follow you and cut down on pointless internet use - which is an ironic thing to say, here.

    Here's the thread to dump 'my poem' again - the only one I remember or which moves me. It was written for the largely-abandoned fast of advent, but the sentiment works for Lent just as well.

  • We had a lot of little ones in church, and they mostly came to his side of the chancel. So there he is, all kitted out in robe and stole, getting down on his knees to reach the toddlers. He managed to spill a bit of ash down one little girl's face and they both got the giggles.

    That's lovely.
  • @Lamb Chopped I think I'll remember that every Ash Wednesday from now on and I mean that in a good way!!
    Same here! I love it!
    Getting back to Lenten disciplines, for various reasons I pretty much gave up giving something up for Lent many years ago. But I always take on some reading. Usually it’s a book—maybe one I’ve been putting off—that seems appropriate.

    This year, I’m doing something a little different. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a regularly listener and fan of The Bible Project podcast. In 2024, they’re doing a year-long look at the Sermon on the Mount. So, I decided I’ll read the Sermon on the Mount every day during Lent. I’m using a variety of translations.

    I may add another book before it’s all over with.

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