Taking something out of your life isn’t the only way to observe Lent

Many Christian churches that are more liturgical in nature collectively experience Lent. The Salvation Army isn’t one of these, and because of that Lent can feel a little foreign to some of us.

Those who observe Lent (the 40 days leading up to Easter, except for Sundays) often do so by giving up something as a tangible way to remember the sacrifice of Christ. The motivation behind this is beautiful, and I believe we should seize any opportunity to walk closer with Jesus.

If giving up something for the Lenten season is something you do, then please don’t interpret this as my declaration that that is the wrong way. If your sacrifice strengthens your relationship with the Lord and the body of Christ, then please don’t let this different train of thought hinder that process.

But in my congregation, we’ve decided to do it a little differently. Instead of giving up something, we are choosing to add something into our daily lives. This will manifest in different ways each day, but the motivation is the same.

We are going to add intentional acts of kindness for our community into our everyday lives.

The main difference between these two can be found in the different ways we experience Jesus. When I think about my relationship with Jesus, it has little to do with his sacrifice, and everything to do with his kindness. As I want to live more like Jesus and experience his fullness, it all rests in His concept of kindness—also known as unconditional love and grace.

We are doing this in our home and as a congregation who cares for our community. This year, instead of picking one specific thing to give up, we’ve compiled a list of 70 things to choose from (yes that is more than 40, but not all of these things are applicable or possible for everyone). As we carry out these intentional acts of kindness, we refocus our minds on Christ and his love for a hurting and broken world.

Quite a few of the things from our list take place in our homes—“have a living room camp out with your kids,” for instance. This kind of thing shows our children that they matter too. As we go about God’s business, it is incredibly easy to neglect the gifts of kindness and grace in our homes. We could use a reminder of how fulfilling it can be to put others before yourself and to share joy with all those who God puts in our lives.   

So how does this new expression of Lent work?

You just pick one small act of kindness from the list provided (or feel free to make your own list), and live that out every day from now until Easter. I am going to write my experiences on my blog, TattooedPreacherLady.Wordpress.com. When our congregation shares the ways that God moves during this season, we are going to use the hashtag #WhiteCenterLents, not as a way to brag or boast, but as a way to see that as a body we care for our community.

This is your invitation to join us in spreading kindness that radiates Christ to your community. Let’s Lent together.