Lent is supposed to be a time where Christians grow closer to God through times of quiet reflection, prayer, fasting and taking on new spiritual practices. Good preaching during Lent must inspire people to grow spiritually and invite them to contemplate the journey of Christ to the grave. For the preacher this means preparing extra sermons and speaking at Lenten lunches and additional Bible studies. While our congregation members are giving up things to move closer to Christ during Lent, preachers are taking on more work!
Taking on a spiritual practice during Lent can feel overwhelming. Plus, since so much additional time for the preacher is spent in Bible reading and study during Lent it is easy to make the case for not adding a spiritual practice because you do not need one. You are already doing lots of spiritual work during Lent just to keep up with your calendar.
Before you give up completely, I would like to remind you that Lent is a gift to all of us. You are entitled to celebrate Lent and you need these forty days as much, if not more, than the members of your congregation. I encourage you to make Lent a time of spiritual reflection for yourself.
Below are five ways that preachers can observe Lent. I invite you to spend 15 minutes per day doing one of the following:
1) Remember Why You Became a Preacher
You are busy 365 days a year. You have meetings to attend, people who demand more time than you have, financial concerns, and struggles to balance work and family life. Spend 15 minutes a day remembering why you became a preacher in the first place. Write about it, daydream about it, and remember. Hopefully by the end of Lent you will be renewed to continue preaching despite the demanding life it requires.
2) Spend Time with Your Favorite Scripture
Spending time with a text in sermon preparation brings a certain stress with it. You must place the text in historical context, look up the meanings of key words, find illustrations to accompany it and put a sermon together. This is not the same as spending time letting God speak to you, personally, through the scripture. On each of these forty days, set aside 15 minutes and read a favorite passage of scripture and then sit with it, saying nothing, doing nothing. Let God speak to you. Let God’s word renew your soul.
3) Do Nothing
Turn off your phone and move away from your computer to a place where no one can find you. You cannot hear God and rediscover your soul while being interrupted every two minutes. Take this time each day for 15 minutes and discover how much renewal you will find!
4) Do Something Physical
So much of your time is spent at a desk, in front of a computer or sitting in meetings. Take the forty days of Lent and move! Take a walk, take time to stretch, breathe deeply. Let your body relax and your soul will find renewal as well.
5) Draw a Picture
Sermons are filled with words, sentence structure, patterns and rhythms. Drawing a picture allows you to move from your world of words and into a world of images, imagination, and play. Draw a picture everyday of Lent and allow your soul to express itself.
Fifteen minutes a day for forty days. You can make that time in your schedule. You deserve this time. Take it and let God renew your soul.
Leanne Hadley is dedicated to helping the Church better the ministries we offer to children and families. More about Leanne’s ministry can be found on her website: leanne-hadley.com or on FB at: Leanne cares about kids.
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