Hey CCC Family! Lent begins this Wednesday, February 17th and our hope is that we could observe this significant time in the church calendar together. Here’s what Lent is all about and how you can participate:
What is Lent?
Lent is a 40-day period (excluding Sunday’s) in the Christian calendar where believers down through the ages and around the world have prepared themselves for the celebration of Christ’s resurrection. It begins every year 6 weeks before Easter Sunday, and this year it starts on Wednesday, February 17th. This 40-day period mirrors Jesus’ own time in the desert as he prepared himself for ministry.
How do we observe Lent?
Traditionally Lent is a voluntary time of fasting, prayer, and giving. The observance of Lent is not commanded in scripture but a tradition of the historical Christian church. The goal is spiritual growth not duty or obligation.
First, it’s a time for fasting. In the same way Jesus fasted in the desert, believers fast during Lent. Some give up a specific food or drink. Others give up things like social media or TV. The point of abstaining from something is not to go through a religious exercise (this is entirely voluntary) but to make room in our hearts and our minds for more of Jesus. During Jesus’ own 40 days in the desert he fasted. While in the desert he was tempted by the Devil to turn rocks into bread. He responded by saying: “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” (Matthew 4:4). This summarizes the purpose of Lent very well. We are much more than our desires and our cravings. To practice abstinence in any form is to give our souls room to reach out to what they need more than food and entertainment–communion with the living God.
Second, it’s a time of prayer. When we abstain from physical nourishment, we are directing our souls to deeper spiritual nourishment. When we repent, we turn away from sin and turn towards the cross. This is where prayer, scripture, and silence come in. Lent is a time to uncover the false and functional saviors in our lives and cling once again to our true savior, Jesus Christ. There are many ways we can practice prayer on our own. Here are a few suggestions and opportunities we wanted to make you aware of starting soon. There will be more to come as we get closer to Easter:
- The Prayer Course II – We are offering this 5-week course for the season of Lent to our church family, Monday nights at 7pm, starting February 22nd. A number of our small groups will be going through this course as well. This is an opportunity to ask some of the more honest and raw questions about prayer. The course consists of watching a video each week followed by group discussion and prayer. This is open to anyone. You can register for the course here: https://centralcommunity.churchcenter.com/registrations/events/732209
- Lectio Divina 365 – This daily devotional app leads you through a 10-minute prayer and meditation through the season of Lent. It’s a very powerful exercise and a great way to start the day. You can download the app and each day we can pray the same things together as a church family: https://www.24-7prayer.com/dailydevotional.
- ‘She Reads Truth’ & ‘He Reads Truth’ reading plans– The She/He Reads Truth Ministry have put together a reading plan for Lent that walks through the books of Joshua and the book of Mark! Two books we have been in this year. To access their reading plans you can get more info and download their apps here:
Finally, Lent is a time of giving. In the same way Jesus gave his life for us, we seek to pour out our lives for others. There are numerous ways we can give, but we have decided to partner with WIND, one of our key ministry partners during Lent. It is usually during this time that we send a mission’s team down to Cotzal, Guatemala, but because of COVID we cannot do that this year. See below how we hope to give generously during this time and bless the people of Cotzal.
This year has been difficult in Cotzal with the crisis of the pandemic coinciding with two hurricanes that destroyed 95% of crops just before harvest. The resulting food insecurity has driven an increase in need for our feeding program which provides students with a nutritious meal five days a week. The meals are cooked by families in Cotzal using food purchased in the community. Each meal costs $2 and our goal during Lent is to provide 1,000 meals for this program. You can contribute by donating through the CCC app and selecting Guatemala as the giving reason.
You are also invited to join WIND on Saturday, February 20th to experience school in 2021 through the eyes of a student and a teacher in Cotzal. The student and teacher will be live with us on the call; your interest and support will be a great encouragement to them.
When: Saturday, February 20th at 10am Pacific Time
Meeting Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86407348888?pwd=VzcxNkRqOHlMeVhvWllmWm5YMmVudz09
These 40 days leading up to Easter are a significant time to prepare our hearts for more of Jesus and more of his resurrection power in our lives, our city, and our world. These are just a few guiding principles and opportunities to help along the way. We are praying that the resurrection life of Jesus would become more real to us this year than ever before.
Jesus is alive!