The season of Lent starts with Ash Wednesday, which falls on February 22nd this year. The free downloadable resource, Lent: Penitence, Pilgrimage, Preparation, offers this invitation to Lent.
Leader: Sisters in Christ, today we reflect upon the time of remembering Jesus’ passover from death to life, and our life in Christ is renewed. In this holy season of Lent, we acknowledge our need for repentance and for God’s mercy. We are created to experience joy in communion with God, to love one another and to live in harmony with creation. But our sinful rebellion separates us from God, our neighbors and creation, so that we do not enjoy the life our creator intended. As disciples of Jesus, we are called to a discipline that contends against evil and resists whatever leads us away from love of God and neighbor. We are invited, therefore, to the discipline of Lent—self-examination and repentance, prayer and fasting, sacrificial giving and works of love—strengthened by the gifts of word and sacrament. Let us continue our journey through these forty days to the great Three Days of Jesus’ death and resurrection.
Let us pray.
Merciful God, accompany our journey through these forty days. Renew us in the gift of baptism, that we may provide for those who are poor, pray for those in need, fast from self-indulgence, and above all that we may find our treasure in the life of your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
As children, we might have given up some small treat for Lent, but as adults, we can take on richer spiritual practices. We can go deeper into Lent. We can keep Lent as a time to renew our lives of faith.
Several Lenten devotions and meditations, examples of spiritual practices, and guides for discussion or journaling are included in this resource, available under the Resources tab of the Women of the ELCA website. Your group might decide to use it together, or you might use it alone.
Whatever you choose, Women of the ELCA wishes us all a holy Lent.
Audrey Riley is the former director for stewardship for Women of the ELCA. Photo by Jim Veneman of the Rev. Adriana Johnson Rivas, Iglesia Principe de Paz, Houston, Texas.
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This devotion first appeared in February 2019.