Dealing with information overload? Here’s some great resources and recommendations for observing Lent (from today through Easter).

1. Video: Ash Wednesday & Lent in Two Minutes

This is fun, fast, thorough. You can stop here if you want. Love this video.

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2. Lent Ideas by Laura Riggs.

Laura has GREAT links and ideas for the whole family.

…  I’m enjoying studying different aspects of Christianity. Is Lent necessary? Am I going to hell if I don’t participate? No. Can it be a form of legalism? Yep. But so many things in the church can become legalistic if we let them. If used as a time to pause and reflect, to “be still and know that I am God,”  I think it can be very helpful, at least in my life.

3. Is Easter A Waste of Time? by David Mann

I love David Mann’s articles, they are challenging and even provocative.

Some congregations and even entire denominations have not traditionally embraced the Great Fifty Days and other elements of the Christian calendar primarily out of a concern of rigidity, conformity, loss of autonomy, or fear of appearing too “Catholic.”  Additional desire for worship creativity has caused congregations to look elsewhere out of concern that annual celebrations promote monotony.  Timothy Carson states that, “Exactly the opposite may be true.  Because it has stood the test of time, it may be sufficiently deep to allow me to swim more deeply in it.  Because it is repeated, I have another chance, today, to go where I could not go yesterday.” Even as congregations avoid the Christian calendar, they affirm the annual observance of cultural and denominational days of celebration whose foundations are not always biblically grounded.  The irony is found in the realization that in the development of these denominational and cultural calendars we have created denominational liturgies in response to our desire to be non-liturgical.

4. What is Ash Wednesday? Why Observe Lent? Why Should I Care About the Church Calendar? by Glenn Packiam

Glenn is an advocate of blending historical liturgical elements within the “modern worship” church. He articulates the theology and practicalities better than anybody right now, imo.

I’m not in love with all things old.

I don’t think then is better than now.

I’m not trying to get back to how things were.

My journey in learning about the liturgy and the liturgical year is not about nostalgia; it’s about spiritual formation.

By the way, check out this great video answer Glen gave to when I asked “how do we encourage wholehearted worshiping communities?”

Other articles by Packiam on this topic, “Why I’m Observing Lent This Year”  and  “Sacred Rhythms: Preparing for Lent, 2011.”

5. Lent 101 by The Upper Room

This is a Methodist resource and quite in depth.Here’s what it says about fasting.

FASTING: Some people have been known to go without food for days. But that’s not the only way to fast. You can fast by cutting out some of the things in your life that distract you from God. Some Christians use the whole 40 days to fast from candy, tv, soft drinks, cigarettes or meat as a way to purify their bodies and lives. You might skip one meal a day and use that time to pray instead. Or you can give up some activity like worry or reality tv to spend time outside enjoying God’s creation. What do you need to let go of or “fast” from in order to focus on God? What clutters your calendar and life? How can you simplify your life in terms of what you eat, wear or do?

Question: Are you observing Lent? How?

I’ll share my answer in the comments. See you there!