Give It Up for Lent

Giving something up for Lent might seem less of a daunting task than giving up something for the New Year with a resolution, since it is after all only 40 days long.  But it still can be challenging.  The cool thing about giving something up is that it forces us to take our faith outside of the church building, it forces us to think about God's presence in our everyday ordinary lives, even when everything is going along fine.  So I have a list of things to consider giving up for Lent, you may choose to do them for a week or a day or to take one on for the entire season.

1. Instead of giving up chocolate, only purchase slave free chocolate. Delicious!   http://bambootique.wordpress.com/2008/06/05/slave-free-chocolate-brands-you-can-trust/

2. Instead of fasting, eat only beans and rice for dinner. Then donate what you would have spent on a meal for your family to a local food pantry or charity of your choice.

3. Fast from electronics for the evening and have a family night of reading and playing board games.

4.  By fair trade coffee.

5. Take your travel coffee mug with you to your favorite fair trade coffee shop.

6.  Take your own water bottle with you and refrain from buying bottled water.

7.  Take a walk in the morning or the evening and be in prayer for your city and your neighborhood.

8.  Arrive 10 minutes early to worship on Sunday and be in prayer for your congregation, its mission, the leaders and your pastor.

9.  Take time to write a note to a co-worker, friend or family member who is in need of encouragement.

10.  Invite a friend to worship and share why it is your faith in God matters to you.

11.  Visit a member of your congregation that is home bound.

12.  Make dinner for a busy family whose parents need a night off from making an evening meal.

13.  Take your kids to the park and play with them! (no sitting down and chatting with the other parents the whole time)

14.  Make time to read a bible story with your family each night at bedtime story time.  If you live alone, take time to read the scriptures before bed, you might decide to "take on" reading a gospel or one of Paul's letters through the Lenten season.

15.  Share with one another at meal time when you experienced the presence of God in your day.  If you live alone, invite a member of the congregation to join you in a daily text message exchange.

16.  Recycle, if you are not already, make an effort to take care of mother earth (God's good creation). (Or take some of the church's recycling home to your bin.)

17.  Take time for sabbath rest, maybe start out with just a couple of hours on your day off and then work on expanding it.


18.  Arrange to have someone you just met at church over for dinner or take them out for a meal or morning coffee.

19.  Walk you dogs (if you don't already), they like getting out of the house too!

20.  Take a hike in the mountains.

21.  Get your hands dirty volunteering at Jardin de Milagros, the Kelly Memorial Food Pantry or The Mustard Seed Cafe.

22. Increase your commitment to the ministries of the church by volunteering in new ways.

At the end of the Lenten season, hopefully one of these practices will become part of your daily or weekly routine and it will help deepen your relationship with God and with one another.  

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