Beyond Chocolate: Some Simple Ideas for a Deeper Lent.


Lent begins March 1. Lent is a time in the Christian church to reflect on the universal human condition, to consider the ways in which we hurt one another, and to ask for forgiveness.

Sometimes asking for forgiveness sets us free in unexpected ways. So, we will begin our Lenten journey with an Ash Wednesday service that includes a traditional "Litany of Penitence" and the imposition of ashes on Mar. 1 @ 11:30 am. All are welcome.

Pastor Emily will preach on Sunday about the spirituality of Lent, Gary Brown will lead us on guitar, and we will celebrate the Lord's Supper together. Mar. 5 @ 10 am. All are welcome.

During Lent, Christians are called to deepen their spiritual lives through the practices of fasting and prayer. Our consistent participation in these practices — like exercise we do for our physical health — improves our spiritual well-being, strips away all that is unnecessary, and helps us see how God is working in our lives.

Below are 7 simple ideas for Lenten spiritual practices. Choose one or find another that calls out to you. Remember the "mustard seed"? Starting small is sometimes the best place of all to start:

1. Commit to attending every Sunday worship service at Knox throughout Lent. If you travel, find a local church.

2. Commit to reading the scriptures before you go to Sunday worship. Find them online here and here.

3. Read the entire Gospel of Mark in one sitting. It’s the shortest Gospel and the cross, a central Lenten symbol, is very important in the Gospel of Mark.

4. If you don’t have a cross in your apartment or house, buy or make a simple one.

5. As a fasting alternative, try the “40 Bags in 40 Days Decluttering Challenge”. Go here for instructions and inspiration.

6. Promote mental calm and reduce anxiety by committing to a “news fast”. Commit to no news one day a week, or read only the newspaper for all 40 days. Television news especially provokes anxiety. Notice how you feel when you take control of how much “news” to let in; you might notice that you can stay informed about the world, without consuming so much “mental junk food”.

7. Turn off the radio in the car during Lent. Sit in the quiet, even if it’s uncomfortable. What is the “noise” covering up for you? Or tune in to Christian-themed music only for Lent (such as K-Love).

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Knox Presbyterian Church | 1650 West 3rd St. | Santa Rosa CA 95401 | 707 544-5468 | santarosaknox@gmail.com

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