Six Unique Ways to Imitate Christ for Lent
Written on: February 13, 2018
Lent gives us six weeks to change our lives for the better. Traditional observances suggest foregoing something we enjoy during that time and striving to keep our Lenten promise every day during the six weeks. But, perhaps a more positive and do-able idea is to plan something mindfully each week. Drawing on Jesus’ example during his active ministry, we offer the following suggestions:
- The Wedding Feast at Cana. No, we don’t expect you to turn water into wine, but maybe you can do something out of the ordinary for your co-workers or friends. Invite everyone over Friday night for pizza and game night. Make a meatless lunch to share at work. Afternoon dance party, anyone? Think up your own creative idea to turn a dull day into a celebration.
- Jesus heals the _____ (you fill in the blank). Yes, we know you aren’t going to miraculously heal someone, but as the saying goes, “Everybody’s got something.” Respond to the needs of someone you know, or someone you may not know that well. Send a Thinking of You card, visit an older relative living alone or in a nursing home, or lend a helping hand to a neighbor with a need. Open your heart and it might open your eyes to needs all around you.
- Jesus went into the desert to pray. Doesn’t spending a few days in a remote area, no cell phone; no noise; no interruptions, sound peaceful? Maybe that isn’t possible, but you can create a peaceful day by turning off whatever noise is loudest in your life: breaking news, social media, trash TV…find a few moments, hours or days to take time off. A walk in the winter woods or alongside the water can be very soul renewing, as can just turning off the TV or cell phone.
- Jesus met some new friends. During his ministry Jesus formed a posse- the Apostles. They may not have been the best or the brightest necessarily, but people he recognized as loyal and supportive. When was the last time you introduced yourself to someone new at Church, at the library, at the local coffee shop? Smile and wish passersby a good morning. You never know what grace can come from a positive interaction with another person.
- Jesus spoke truth to power. There are many ways we can honor our beliefs both in word and deed:
Write an advocacy letter.
Join a neighborhood clean-up.
Serve a meal at the homeless shelter.
Do something that supports the image you have of yourself as a person who is engaged in the world.
Maybe you aren’t able to run for political office, but you can do something. Join a march, wear a button or create an email signature that lets others know you care about a particular issue. And, sometimes, remaining silent when someone is calling you to agree with what you don’t believe in is a good tactic, too.
6. Jesus never stayed in one place too long. Inspiration often strikes us when we are open to something new. Many churches and religious congregations offer retreat opportunities or special talks during Lent. If Sunday homilies are sounding too familiar, visiting a different parish or a Congregation’s chapel for Mass might shake you out of your complacency. Church teachings don’t change, but different messengers can help us see things in a new way.
Just as Jesus traveled around, talked about different things, met new people and enjoyed different experiences with his friends, so too can we live Lent in an active and positive way.
We’d love to hear your ideas for living Lent more fully this year! Please share your thoughts below. We’ll be sharing some of ours as Lent progresses.