The blog Piety Hill Musings, by the rector of St. John’s church in Detroit, has an excellent short overview of 12 traditional Lenten observances. It’s a great resource for those who want to learn more about Lent, and as you consider and pray about what spiritual disciplines to focus on in this season of the church year.
Here are a few excerpts:
1. Fasting – The weekdays of Lent are fast days, meaning that the amount of food is reduced. A good (if modern) suggestion is no snacks, no seconds, no desserts, and no alcohol. If you don’t normally eat snacks or drink, you may consider giving up some favorite food. The idea is to undertake something sacrificial, yet not overwhelming. Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are strict fast days: one full meal in the evening, a very light one in the afternoon and for some nothing before 3pm. Those who are ill, elderly, pregnant or nursing are excused from this discipline. (Page li, 1928 B.C.P.) […]4. Daily Office – If you do not now read Morning and/or Evening Prayer from the Prayer Book, Lent is a good time to begin doing so. It takes some effort and discipline to get the habit established, but once accomplished, it can bear great fruit in your spiritual life. Each Office takes 10-15 minutes a day. Ask the Clergy if you need help in how to do it.
5. Spiritual Reading – An ancient custom is to take a spiritual book for regular reading during Lent. This can be a book on the Scriptures, or one of the spiritual classics. Many are available in the parish library, and the clergy would be happy to make suggestions as well.
You might be VERY SURPRISED by #12 on the list….!
I don’t think too many people usually include evangelism in their list of Lenten disciplines. What a great reminder!