In 2021, Lent begins Wednesday, 17 February
What do you need if you’re interested in Lent this year?
Do you want to do some kind of traditional or modern fasting? Do you want to try a new spiritual practice for six weeks, or do a new kind of change-the-world activity? Is there some aspect of Jesus’ life or character you want to learn more about, or a particular way you want to become more like him?
Lent can be one of the richest times of the year for people exploring or immersed in Christian spirituality.
It’s an annual, extended opportunity to focus on the life and work of Jesus and consider our own responses to his call to follow him.
This is my third Lent as a blogger, so I realised there’s plenty of stuff here to check out if you are looking for some ideas for your own Lenten journey this year. I thought I’d put it all in one place for you, with plenty of time to think about what will be most helpful for you (and perhaps your household).
Last year I laid out a plan for practising Lent at home, based around a daily mealtime ritual, particularly for adults and kids to do together. There were candles, artworks, questions, movies, conversation starters and real-life challenges.
I also wrote a series of posts on the origins of Lent and how it has evolved around the world over time. The year before, I followed Stewardship UK’s challenge to life ‘A Generous Lent’.
All of those posts, plus some more on the special days of Shrove Tuesday, Ash Wednesday, and Easter week, are listed below. Click away to find something that catches your eye for this year.
Just before we get to them, I wanted to mention that my writing on Sacraparental is supported by generous patrons through my Patreon account. If you find my Lent articles thoughtful and useful, and would like to support me to write more stuff like them, head on over. You can leave your suggestions, vote for what the next article will be, and make my writing possible. Thanks!
And – update! – here’s a summary of my best tips for creating your own household Lent plan. Pin it for later and keep scrolling 🙂
Start with a Party; Start with Ashes
The last day before Lent – Tuesday 16 February this year – is party time. For everything you need to know about Shrove Tuesday (or Pancake Tuesday, Mardi Gras, or Carnival, among other names), check out these posts:
How to throw a low-stress, community building pancake party
The story of the first pancake party we threw, when our son was a baby, and I was still pretty unwell. It was low-key and great! We made lasting friendships from this day.
Some amazing photographs of Carnival celebrations around the world.
After the party comes the sombre contemplation.
Lent begins (on 18 February this year) on Ash Wednesday. Definitely check out Jekheli Kibami Singh’s moving guest post on what the ashes remind her of.
Sacraparental Lent with Kids (and adults!)
If there are kids or teenagers in your life who you want to team up with for Lent, here’s everything you need for the whole six weeks:
Advent with Toddlers (which the Lent pattern was inspired by)
Sacraparental Lent with Kids (setting out the idea broadly – there’s more detail in the next post)
Lent with Kids Week 1: Getting Ready – START HERE if you just want to get cracking.
Lent with Kids, Week 1: Jesus is Wise (a focus on the Bible texts and the practice of wisdom)
Lent with Kids, Week 1: Wisdom at Home
Lent with Kids Week 2: Jesus and the Prophets Make us Brave
Lent with Kids Week 3: Jesus Gives Us Important Jobs to Do
Lent with Kids Week 4: Jesus Gives Us a Fresh Start
Lent with Kids Week 5: Jesus is in Charge of Life
Lent with Kids Week 6, Palm Sunday: Jesus is a Surprising King
What’s the Point of Lent?
This is a four-part series surveying the development of Lenten practices from the Old Testament to the present, looking for guidance as we create our own Lenten practices.
What’s the Point of Lent? #1: Starting with the Old Testament (with a particular focus on what the point of fasting might be, and how to miss the point)
What’s the Point of Lent? #2: Jesus and the Early Church
What’s the Point of Lent? #3: Orthodox Practices
A Generous Lent
In 2013 I followed Stewardship UK’s 40 Acts of Generosity pattern and blogged through it. If you want more to read, you can catch up on those here:
A Generous Lent (introduction)
A Generous Lent, Act 1: Build a Generosity Kit
A Generous Lent, Act 6: Be a Mentor
A Generous Lent, Act 13: Share the Bible
Stewardship runs a new version of the 40 Acts pattern each year, and you can find the current one here. These are excellent, contemporary resources, well worth your time.
Easter and Holy Week
I’ve also written a few posts on Eastery things, here and for my column on the parenting website Kiwi Families:
- Really the last in the Lent with Kids series, but for Holy Week: 32 ideas for celebrating Easter at home.
- An introduction to Easter, aimed at a general audience, at Kiwi Families.
- My review of Joy Cowley’s The Easter Story, the best Easter book for kids (and adults!) I know.
- A full online Service of the Shadows, including artworks to contemplate, based on the Tenebrae-style service New Plymouth West Baptist does.
- For adults: some Easter theology on the theme of Hope and Solidarity.
- ‘Strange way to test if wood would splinter
Strange way to do performance art
Strange way to say “I’ll see you later”
Strange way to leave behind your heart’
The lyrics of ‘Strange Way’ by Martyn Joseph.
- On the first Maundy Thursday night, Pilate’s wife had a dream about Jesus.
- Easter Sunday: Hope is Regaining its Health.
Want more? Got more?
I have a Lent board on Pinterest that you can follow or browse (even if you’re not a member, I think). You can also follow me on Facebook for daily snippets.
What else would you like? With all this material already on the blog, I feel nicely free to write on anything over Lent this year. I’ll take requests!
Please let us all know in the comments if you’ve got any other resources or links to share. And I’d love to hear from you how you have celebrated Lent in the past, and/or what you have planned for this year. I’d be keen to feature some guest posts on what you do, so please let me know if you’re interested in writing one.
Don’t miss a post or a tip-off! Keep in touch with Sacraparental throughout Lent by following Sacraparental on Facebook (for daily extras), signing up for email updates (the box at the top right) and/or following me on Pinterest (the Lent and Easter boards are particularly relevant just now, and I also have a couple called Art for the Church and Change the World that you might like).
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