As Americans, we love innovation, planning, and strategy. We want to strip ourselves free of old tradition and boring practices that tie people down. Freedom is being able to work outside of the box. The missional community movement is the innovation that breaks from the tradition and into a new reality where the Church can be relevant in reaching our cities and is the future of the church. We have broken free from the crusty old past. But sometimes, or many times, the ancient practices of the church foster powerful expressions today. Lent can be one of those practices.
Five years ago, we began observing Lent in our missional communities. We started by following a guide, fasting, and challenging one another to read the Psalms as we journeyed toward Black Friday and looked toward Easter. I can remember one man in our community having lunch with me after this six week season saying: “my wife and I realized we could make praying the Psalms something we do every day.” Another person shared with me: “I’ve always skipped over the suffering and sacrifice of Jesus.
But after spending these past weeks focused on it, I better understand how Jesus identifies in my suffering. The passion Jesus endured on my behalf is alive to me.” Observing Lent together impacted us individually, but also communally as we learned enduring communal disciplines: how to talk about suffering, how to confess sin, how to grieve, how to lament, and how to fix our eyes on Jesus collectively.
Lent is first and foremost about the gospel making its way deeper into our lives. How will you engage it this year?
Ways to Practice Lent in Your Community:
- Use The Saturate Lent Guide: “Living Through Dying” and guide your community through this season of worship.
- Connect what you’re learning to the mission you’re on. How is the suffering of Jesus good news?
- Plan ahead what your community will do to worship during Holy Week. I suggest sharing some sort of Passover meal. This is great story-formed way: The Gospel Story: A Passover Meal Experience.