The forty days before Easter Sunday give you and your church an opportunity like no other in the Christian calendar. In commemorating Jesus' preparation for his earthly ministry, Lent offers his followers one of very few chances to something Jesus actually did himself - to spending time apart from the world and alone with his Father God.
Lent is an opportunity for you, your family, study group and church to take time away from the world and focus on your individual and collective relationship with God. Anytime is a good time for this, but the unique 'feel' of the 40 days of Lent, with the emotions of the Passion, Good Friday and Easter Sunday, make it the ideal time for a God centred 'wilderness' experience.
What would I want from Lent?
What you don't want is to feel disappointed with your Lent experience. A published, tried and tested Lent study course gives you the focus and resources to make the most effective use of the time you have. Prepared Lent courses provide you with everything you need to get the most from your time of reflection and renewal.
Providing you with all the Bible texts, explanations, meditations and prayers that you need in one easy-to-follow, easy-to-carry book, a prepared Lent course saves you having to collect resources and references from widely spread sources, allowing you a more focused experience of this emotionally rich season.
What can I expect from a Lent course?
The first big thing about a prepared Lent course is that it sets the life, death and resurrection of Jesus in the context of God's greater salvation story. The second is in the way a Lent course contects Jesus' purpose of with that of your own life. The third - and the one that makes a Lent course work for you, is that all of this is presented in bite-sized easy to follow and understand daily devotions.
As an individual, family, study group or church leader Lent offers a focus like no other in the Christian calendar. Bringing yourself and others into a deeper, personal relationship with God, a guided Lent course leads you in time and thought through the events of Holy Week and gives a sense of movement and progress toward unity of Jesus purpose and of your own within God's plan for creation.
How do I choose the Lent course for me?
The most important person to consider at Lent is you. A personal Lent course will have the same purpose for you as Jesus' time in the wilderness. By deepening your awareness of God's presence in your life, you'll look to discover his calling and purpose for you, and for the strength to follow.
Choose a course themed around a subject, person or event that interests you. You can choose a daily course as part of your personal growth or to share with your family. Alternatively a Lent course can be the foundation of a weekly group study to be shared with friends, church or at school.
What will I find in a Lent course?
Most Lent courses provide you with:
- An all-in-one book devotional resources that can be taken and used wherever you go.
- A concise account of the key Old Testament prophecies that point to the coming of Jesus.
- The crucial events of the final week of Jesus life his crucifixion, death and resurrection.
- A deeper understanding of what this means today for you, your community and world.
Modern and newly published Lent courses use an engaging theme, person or idea from popular culture to access the Bible material. Some use a recent or classic book, film or DVD as a "way in" to a deeper understanding of the Bible material.
Modern cultural and filmbased Lent courses include:
- 'Not a Tame Lion': a Lent course based on the writings of C S Lewis
- 'Finding a Voice': a Lent course based on the film 'The King's Speech'
- 'The Power of Small Choices;: based on the film 'Shawshank Redemption'
How much time will a Lent course take?
Personal devotion Lent courses give you a focus for each of the 40 days before Easter and needn't take up any more time than you can afford. The 40 short reflections will make an easy to follow series, but if you have to miss one or two, or need to read a number on the same day, it won't detract from the experience.
Each day's devotion will give you a few verses from the Bible. Whatever your favourite Bible translation, there'll be Lent study courses for that version. With each day's Bible text there'll be a thought, poem or meditation to help you focus on the key themes and message of the text.
Usually there'll be a short prayer which you can use or simply take as the basis for one of your own. Ideas and suggestions to extend the study or enrich the experience are often included and can be really helpful.
Remember, the most important person to consider at Lent is you. By deepening your awareness of God's presence in your life, you're looking to discover his calling and purpose for you, and for the faith and strength to follow.
Quick Guide to choosing Lent courses
What are they?
- Structured, Bible based study guides for the 40 days before Easter Sunday.
- Designed for personal, family, small group and whole church participation.
- Focused on Jesus' life and death, God's great plan, you and the world today.
what will they do for me?
- Help you better understand the Bible and the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.
- Lead you through a 'wilderness' experience and your personal time with your Father-God.
- Deepen your relationship with God, and help you find the strength and faith to follow him.
Over to You
At Eden.co.uk you can find a truly interactive Christian community helping you find all you need to live, learn and grow your faith.
The forty days of Lent mark the beginning of Jesus' commitment to his earthly service and overlap with our celebration of its terrible climax and ultimate triumph.
- Do you think there's anything we can learn from thinking about Jesus' preparation for ministry at the same time as we think about its outcome?
- Thinking about your walk with God, do you recall an earlier time that prepared you for what lay ahead, and did you realise at the time that you were being made ready for such a test?
Tell us. Post your ideas, views and tips - beautiful, bizarre and brilliant at Eden.co.uk
February 18th, 2012 - Posted & Written by Les Ellison