11 Lenten Practices to Consider This Year
By Emily Austin, Minister of Communication
Looking to introduce a new Lenten practice into your routine this year? Here are some ideas:
1. Attend a different worship service. Introducing a new-to-you worship into your routine can help you form new relationships at church and experience the liturgy in a fresh way.
2. Commit yourself to service. Memphis has been noted as one of the most generous cities in the United States, and our surrounding community offers a variety of ways for you to pay your devotion forward through volunteering or service. Is there a particular group or population that God is calling you to support with your time or talent? Lent is a wonderful time to open your schedule to volunteering. Look for opportunities at your parish, or log on to Volunteer Odyssey to explore other ways to give back to our West Tennessee community.
3. Invite God into your life in a new-to-you way. Attend a silent retreat at St. Columba or spend an hour in silent meditation each week. Worship at a faith community unlike yours. Trying a new spiritual practice helps us see how God’s presence is truly always with us.
4. Make time – literally. In the morning, get up 30 minutes earlier, or in the evening, stay up 30 minutes later. Use the time for prayer or silent reflection.
5. Hop in the pool. The carpool, that is. Carpooling helps us conserve Earth’s precious resources, and it offers us time to spend in community. Can’t find a car buddy? When the weather allows, consider taking public transit to work, walking, or cycling during Lent.
6. Go on a technology fast. Much like eating unhealthy sweets and treats, digital consumption can quietly overtake our lives when not monitored. Sign off for 40 days from social media, or take a break from an app that’s been getting too much of your attention lately.
7. Follow the reader. Before Sunday worship, read the biblical passages that will be included in the day’s worship. At the end of the day, read them again.
8. Take something on. Commit 40 small acts of kindness. Choose 40 bible verses and write short daily responses to them. Make 40 phone calls to people you care about. Take a short, silent walk or jog each day.
9. Shape your own sacrifice. Who is God calling you to be? Discern what activity or habit is keeping you from that calling and consciously give it up during Lent.
10. Recommit yourself to bodily stewardship. Is there a medical appointment you’ve been putting off? Perhaps you’re ready to drink less, quit smoking, or start exercising more regularly. Lent is an excellent time to frame our health goals in the context of spiritual wellbeing.
11. Pray for a stranger. Every person that we encounter is a child of God facing a challenge that we may not be aware of. As you stand in line at the grocery store, commute to school or work, or read a comment online from someone you don’t know, select someone who appears to be in need and pray for them.