Download the 2019 Lent Guide.
Pick up your printed Lent Guide on Sunday mornings at the Sanctuary entrances.
What is Lent?
In the early centuries of the church, the forty days before Easter came to be recognized as the season of Lent (a Latin word that means “spring”), when new converts were prepared for baptism. This preparation included biblical instruction, prayer, repentance and fasting.
In time, the practices of Lent were embraced by the entire church. Its purpose has always been self-examination and spiritual preparation leading to an exuberant celebration of Easter.
At Calvary, we emphasize the spiritual disciplines of prayer, fasting and giving as Jesus encouraged in Matthew 6. Lent provides a wonderful opportunity to do this together, as a church body.
2019 Season of Lent
Lent is an invitation to confront the temptations that seek to pull us off the path to Christ-likeness, to acknowledge what leads us astray and seek fresh strength to turn from the darkness. The spiritual disciplines of praying, fasting and giving that we focus on during this season offer a rhythm to our daily discipleship. Fasting is a symbol of the discipline it takes to turn away from our sin. Prayer is the actual experience of turning to God in dependence. Giving is the virtue we take on to replace our sin.
Psalm 89:15 says, “Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim You, who walk in the light of Your presence, O Lord.”
Spontaneous praise is not so spontaneous. It is like a geyser where the pressure builds up under the surface until it has no option but to gush forth. The more we “walk in the light of [His] presence” the more will we “learn to acclaim” Him. The question is, does our praise well up so regularly that we are like “Old Faithful” in our release of the overflow of our hearts?
“Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name”
This year during Lent we want to offer a sacrifice of praise to God. And if in this season we want to produce the “fruit of lips that confess His name,” that “continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise,” then we have to be intentional about cultivating a heart that builds up an internal pressure of gratitude and adoration. We need to maintain our hearts in the light of His presence. 2
In this regard, our daily practice throughout the season of Lent will be the Prayer of Examen. Founded by St. Ignatius of Loyola, the Examen is a method of personal daily prayer in which the individual reflects honestly on both the challenging and beautiful events of the past 24 hours. The Examen asks us to reflect upon moments of consolation (when we have felt alive, energized, free, joy-filled) and moments of desolation (when we felt drained, anxious, trapped, angry. In the honest pondering of our daily highs and lows, we devleop the beautiful habit of finding God in all things. It is through this careful attention to His presence in our lives that we believe a fountain of praise will well up.
Calvary’s 2019 Lenten Guide is designed to offer space for you to reflect on God’s presence each day. Each day you’ll find prompts to take those reflections and cultivate praise for all the ways you have noticed God in your daily life. On Sundays we’ll gather to profess His Name together and bring a collective sacrifice of praise as we worship.
1The Examen Journal, Mary Williams
For more information on the season of Lent and the practice of observing the church calendar consider reading the following books which were used to compile the above.
- Ancient-Future Time by Richard Webber
- Living the Christian Year by Bobby Gross