In 2021, Lent begins on Wednesday 17th of February (Ash Wednesday) and lasts six-and-a-half weeks.
Life can feel very busy. There are demands from every direction, pressures and stresses that can roll around in our heads: things that we worry might happen, or things that we are afraid might not.
Picture for a moment all of the noise falling away, as you sit in the sand of a silent dune and experience peace.
This is a place where you can breathe, where you can have time to relax and, hopefully, have time to think without fear or judgement.
We may not be able to transport you to your own private wilderness, but over the next six weeks we are offering a menu of small and simple ways to pull you out of routines and ruts and help make space for new thoughts and new directions.
A little forward planning is needed – as with starting exercise – you need to think ahead about the practical things you might need to such as:
- a quiet place to sit.
- a route to walk.
- an amount of time – ten minutes will do!.
These are things to set aside as space for these activities
Week 1 & 2 – Not by Bread Alone
In these first two weeks, try some of these activities to make space during Lent.
Making and eating food in a group
Eating is about so much more than just food. It’s possible to get so caught up in the business of life that eating can lose its sense of joy and beauty. Food can be something we savour and something we share. This week take time to make and eat food with someone, either as a family, with children, or just inviting someone to join us online. Set time aside not just to eat, but to actually prepare the food together. Let the flavours, textures and the smells be something you pause to take in.
If you have any good sharing recipe ideas please share them with us on Facebook. If you are stuck for ideas, you could try some of these.
Make a small change to your morning routine. Maybe set an alarm for 15 minutes earlier than you need. Try to spend this time thinking about the day ahead, but also connecting with mind and body. Sit on the floor in a position with good posture, breath deeply, reach your arms above your head and then out to the sides. Stand up straight and reach high towards the ceiling, then flop down towards your toes, breathing out as you do.
This can be as simple or as fancy as you like. You could simply take your normal plate of food outside and sit with it on your knee. Take time as you eat to listen to the sounds around you, birdsong and leaves. Let your senses take in the colours, smells and feelings around you.
Here are some recipe ideas if you want to get fancy.
Take 10 minutes, before you get up, or as you eat breakfast, or even in the shower, to think about three areas of your life.
For things that are difficult – Bless those you struggle with.
For everything little, food, shelter, health – Be thankful for what you have that is good.
For things that you have done that were wrong. – Turn away from things that have been wrong and step towards something better.
Try to think about these things lightly. Know that you don’t need to think of solutions or answers, just take the time to process each area.
Watching your mind work (body scan – reflect without judging)
Take time to think about each part of you body. Breath slowly and consciously. Start with your feet and work up to your head.
For a guide to this click here.
Most people take short, shallow breaths into their chest. It can make you feel anxious and zap your energy.
Breathe in through your nose. Let your belly fill with air.
Breathe out through your nose.
As you breathe in, feel your belly rise. As you breathe out, feel your belly lower. Breathe fully into your belly as it rises and falls with your breath.
Close your eyes if they’re open. Take a few big, deep breaths.
Breathe in. As you do that, imagine that the air is filled with a sense of peace and calm. Try to feel it throughout your body.
Breathe out. While you’re doing it, imagine that the air leaves with your stress and tension.
As you breathe in, say in your mind, “I breathe in peace and calm.”
As you breathe out, say in your mind, “I let go of stress and fear.”
Continue for 10 minutes.
Switch off at night
Set a sensible deadline for your whole house, such as 8pm or 9pm, or whenever you feel is appropriate.
At this time switch off all electrical entertainment and communication devices. Phones, TV’s, music players, tablets.
This is to give your mind time to approach sleep without too much stimulation.
Time can feel slower without something to keep you occupied.
40 days 40 items
The season of Lent coincides with Spring Cleaning time. As we prepare for Easter in our hearts, we focus on ways to be more prayerful and charitable.
One great way to combine the urge to purge and to help others is to do a 40-Day Closet Challenge. Each day during Lent, remove one item of clothing from your wardrobe and put it into a bag, box, old suitcase, etc. At the end of Lent, donate those clothes to a place that can use them.
More info here.
God’s Story, Our Story
We witness to God’s story and the impact this has made to our story so that others might also find their story taking on new meaning in the light of God’s love. While the current restrictions on daily life necessitated by the pandemic present significant challenges, the suffering and isolation many continue to face make the need for us to share God’s love with our communities greater than ever. Rather than just being a Lenten discipline, this year’s #LiveLent is a joyful invitation to make witness a normal part of the Christian life, the natural overflow of a life lived in devotion to Christ.
To sign up to the Bishops lent resources click here.
Week 3 & 4 – Don’t Push It
Resources Coming Soon!
Week 5 & 6 – Release Your Grip
Resources Coming Soon!