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Lent Questions

Posted: Mon Feb 16, 2015 9:51 pm
by Jae
Please use this thread to post any questions you might have about Lent or Easter


Lent on i-church

Posted: Wed Feb 18, 2015 8:37 am
by Pam
Today is Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent which leads us towards Holy Week and Easter. Christians all over the world will be receiving the 'Imposition of Ashes' as a sign of penitence and spending the next 5 weeks in reflection and prayer.

Some people 'give up' things for Lent, including, nowadays, social media, whereas some people choose to 'take up' an activity which focuses them on Jesus.

In i-church, we will be providing a Lent forum with suggested activities based on the Radio Four long wave Lent activities. We will also be holding a short service of prayer service each Friday at 7.00 pm GMT in the Chapel. The resourced for the service will be available to use afterwards on your own via the appropriate thread in the Chapel and Chat forum.

We hope you will join us for some of our Lent activities. If you want to post in the Lent forum or the Chapel services, you will need to register as a member, but you are welcome to use any of our other resources without registration.

Lent on i-church

Posted: Wed Feb 18, 2015 12:06 pm
by Pam
Ash Wednesday in 2 minutes:

Lent on i-church

Posted: Thu Feb 19, 2015 8:46 pm
by Beth
Thanks Pam. I hope I'll join in with you. Do you mean the reflections are based on these Lent talks that start next week? ... ts/2015/02

Or do you perhaps mean this material, found on the longwave site, and not on the main page of Radio 4 under "Religion and Ethics" (how confusing. Maybe they only list established programs there!) ... od-s-hands

In God's Hands by Desmond Tutu is one of the books available to borrow at Holy Trinity this year, the parish church which serves the place I live.

We're also being encouraged to by the Bishop of Bangor to develop story cubes from a net in the shape of a cross, to fold them up and cover them with images, and with words and put objects inside them if we want to. I might share here as well if I do. I like how the shape represents the groundplan of a church, that appealed to me, and how they are abstract and the leaflet we got suggested we could stack them together, like we assemble traditions at i-church.

A bit lost as to what to put on when the suggested theme is "calling". Perhaps you'll help me initiate a possibility or two. Sounds like a good stress-busting technique if I can get going with it. Do you have a favorite quote from your book you'd like to share?

Lent on i-church

Posted: Fri Feb 20, 2015 6:39 pm
by Pam
Hi Beth

You should be able to see a new Lent forum at the bottom of the boards, and all the details are posted there.

Questions and Thoughts about Lent and Easter

Posted: Mon Feb 23, 2015 7:50 pm
I was pondering upon lent and the things people decide to give up for the period. Personally I don't believe it matters what you give up it. It is Symbolic, it demonstrates to God that we care and that we are prepared to sacrifice in our daily lives.

Anyway to my question,

Looking at a current trend in Charity events Movember, during the month of November we are asked not to shave and grow moustaches, Decembeard, so still not shaving but grow a beard. January we are asked to refrain from alcohol for the month. All this in the name of charity. However does this impact upon our values for lent, are Charities impacting the value of lent because we are not raising money.

please don't misread me, I respect the work charities do and the people who support them but do all these requests for abstinance lead to a saturated market whereby people become complacent.

Questions and Thoughts about Lent and Easter

Posted: Tue Feb 24, 2015 6:54 am
by Ernest
Good question. I suspect that charities are jumping on a band wagon due to the fall in income from more traditional fund raising methods.

I actually think that restraint is a good idea, but all year round. If we're to achieve a healthy life style, there are many things available to consume, which are not actually necessary for survival - but also, sometimes a treat is a morale booster.

Lent and Advent are the two seasons for me when I try to exercise restraint - not by giving up anything, but by returning to the more traditional methods of restraint such as eating less, and fish on Fridays. I don't eat meat or drink alcohol, so it probably means eating less wheat based foods and cut out the luxury items during these two seasons.

I'm unsure whether the fashionable fads and campaigns for charities are affecting the way that people apply their lenten penances (as they used to be described) but I doubt if not shaving is a penance. It saves money (I say this as someone who is permanently hirsute). :)

Questions and Thoughts about Lent and Easter

Posted: Tue Feb 24, 2015 2:13 pm
by Beth
I can see what you mean, Phil. I've chosen to address the "whole me" this Lent, and treat it as an opportunity for transformation through mindfulness. I'm giving up honey as a sweetener, which I usually use to bake. Like Ernest, I rarely eat meat.

I'm generally a healthy eater and use the no sugar, wholewheat rule and no processed foods to organise my diet, which some people call "The Daniel Fast". I eat with the consciousness I've been very ill in the past with poor mental health (because of life circumstances) and fatigue (through a medical condition and then compounding life circumstances), so I eat expecting to be healed from these things.

Eating well is also a gift I can give to my nieces and nephews through positive example, to protect their long-term health, which I care about very much. Usually I try to make healthy food appealing and bake enticing snacks without sugar most weeks for my niece to try (vegetables are another matter - not a single one with her evening meal when she eats at our house. My Dad says "she has fruit".) I will use Lent to pray for the diets of my family.

I'm also doing a 40-day clutter challenge I found out about through a facebook friend. An absolute God-send for me because I have a small room. I have few possessions overall, and tend to keep insignificant things, rather than really to think of which sensible material objects could help me bond with my friends and family. It's really quite a ridiculous habit and shows NO strategy or reasoning, simply borne of fear of throwing things out, I think. So, in this area of stewardship I'm a ludicrous disciple and have already thrown out leaky jackets, old inhalers, expired food, magazines and newspapers, decorations, and we'll see what's next. I'm hoping to get a few things sold on ebay and broken objects fixed as well.

The last two projects are spiritual. There's a challenge to be generous from 40 Days of Stewardship I'm taking part in, and a prayer challenge called Praying for your Elephant where I'm finding 100 payers to pray in 10 categories that could be answered within the next year. (Not only requests for myself.) And I'm reading Desmond Tutu's Lent book. I'm hoping Lent this year will give the remainder of 2015 direction, because traditionally it's time I struggle through.

As you can hear, my enthusiasm is bubbling over this year, mainly because I'm attended a B&M church for the first time in about 7 or 8 years.

Questions and Thoughts about Lent and Easter

Posted: Fri Feb 27, 2015 9:54 pm
Thank you both for the responses and you have provided me some additional thoughts to contemplate.

healthy eating is something I need to concentrate on, not that I partake in lots of sweets and cake. I simply rush around from the moment I rise and don't eat until my evening meal, by which time i am ravenous and binge eat. then I go looking for my supper. I am trying to switch to the little and often mentality but it's not easy.

Questions and Thoughts about Lent and Easter

Posted: Fri Feb 27, 2015 11:53 pm
by Pam
Phil. I agree with you about all the different things that we're encouraged to give up or take up for charitable purposes throughout the year - it does rather drown out the idea of Lent as a specific period of 'fasting' within the year.

There's an interesting preface to the C of E's Common worship which describes the history of Lent as being more about penitence and reconciliation with God and others than fasting per se.


There's been a fashion among Christians I've noticed in the last few years to say 'Oh, I don't believe in giving something up for Lent, I'm taking something up'. I wonder if this reflects our cultural dislike of inactivity and silence?

I was reflecting today during our Lent prayers that when I was a new Christian and then when I was in licensed ministry as a Lay Reader at a Cathedral, Lent was a very active time for me, both in leading activities and in attending a lot of different things.

This year, because I'm still recuperating from pneumonia, I'm doing very little 'for Lent' - I've gone back to being on a vegetarian and fish diet and I am attending/leading prayers.

Another i-church member suggested that this might be completely in keeping with the spirit of Lent - to do less and reflect more.

Questions and Thoughts about Lent and Easter

Posted: Sat Feb 28, 2015 8:33 pm
by Ernest
I can see that giving up for the sake of it isn't really that useful a guide. There needs to be a purpose too it and perhaps that sacrifice is something that we can put to use in terms of giving to charity, giving of our time in service to others, or just giving time for our own inner life through prayer, meditation and reflection.

I've wanted a quieter Lent, but it's turning out to be one of the busiest I've ever had. Totally involved in ministry training, totally involved in what's were doing in the parish for Lent and also with three assignments to write by 2 April, a group project to complete by 29 March and along with commitments to services three times a week, now and an online Lent Course for my parish.

Holy Week starts with me preaching on Palm Sunday and doesn't stop with something each day. We putting on services of Compline in church each day except Thursday, when we have the Maunday Thursday liturgy and Eucharist. On good Friday we have a joint Passion and Stations of the Cross, followed by a vigil and ecumenical service shared with five denominations.

I'm not complaining - these are things that I've been praying for and working towards for the past 8 years - and God is taking me at my word and I'm sincerely grateful to him for doing so. :thumbs:

But I'm making time each day to do Lent Meditation using a book by Joyce Huggett #Meditations for Lent which is brilliant for short reflective pauses and quietness and prayer. ... 473&sr=1-6 and only 01p on Amazon at the moment.

Questions and Thoughts about Lent and Easter

Posted: Sat Feb 28, 2015 11:54 pm
by Pam
Ernie, glad to hear that your Lent is ministry focussed and purposeful after such a lot of exploration!

I used to make the Blessing of the Oils on Maundy Thursday morning at the Cathedral a focus for my holy week when I was very busy in ministry. It's always been seen as an affirmation of the 'ministry of the baptised' in my diocese, so while those in ordained ministries reaffirm their vows, it's set within the affirmation of our baptismal vows.

Questions and Thoughts about Lent and Easter

Posted: Mon Mar 02, 2015 7:11 pm
by Beth
I love that we're giving consideration to Lent here this year. Previously, I've found it gets lost against Christmas. I'm praying for friends especially this Lent (including i-church members), and praying I'll be able to witness to the importance of Easter among my family. On Thursday I'm going to see off the pilgrimage party from Holy Trinity who are on their parish centenary expedition.

This year Holy Trinity celebrates 100 years of the church building and it's amazing for me to be involved after the trouble I've had, given that the church serves the whole community and has at least one affiliated school. I keep having to pinch myself. I'm also genuinely excited to be singing in the choir. I've always liked to sing and at one point I tried to do a music A level because I enjoyed music so much.

I don't mean to blow my own trumpet but I'm reasonably good at it and can hit the right notes. I literally couldn't get anyone to teach me when I was at school. Even when I paid them they didn't, it was awful! I dropped the whole idea because I was banging my head against a brick wall.

At Holy Trinity they have a lovely choir master whose just celebrated his 80th birthday. He's very encouraging. Naturally I've given up my high ambitions by this stage. I just like to join in and they certainly let me! At long last! Singing lifts my spirits and worshiping takes the focus off me.

Questions and Thoughts about Lent and Easter

Posted: Sun Mar 08, 2015 5:39 pm
by BecksC
Sounds great, Beth. I love singing :)

I hope everyone is "enjoying" their Lent?

I often use Lent as a opportunity to take something up rather than/alongside giving something up as to me it seems more positive and distracts you from what is missing and instead you can focus on the enjoyment of the new thing/old thing rediscovered.

Having said this, one year I gave up TV, which was a particular wrench due to Six Nations coverage and it made me realise just how much time I waste channel-hopping and gradually lowering my standards before I found something tolerable to watch. Even now (about 3 years on) I feel the effects, and it gave me ample time to do things I thought I was too busy for, such as art, time with family and time with God.

Re the charitable giving: I tend to up my charitable giving around lent in an attempt at give-until-it-hurts sort of thing. This way I can give money to charity in a kind of 'do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing' way, although this has the drawback of not making people aware of the causes I support I suppose.

Is very inspirational to read what other people are doing. Good thread.

Questions and Thoughts about Lent and Easter

Posted: Thu Mar 12, 2015 5:44 pm
by Pam
I'm having a busy week this week - I preached in a friend's church on Sunday morning and had to drive quite a distance there and back, gave a talk to the Lent group at another friend's church on Tuesday night, led i-church worship on Wednesday night and am leading Lent Friday prayers in i-church tomorrow.

I enjoy leading things because it forces me to spend some time thinking!

As a Lent activity I've been doing '40 bags in 40 days' decluttering, I can't remember if I've mentioned it on here or not. I saw the group on Facebook and joined it. The 'rules' are very flexible, you aim to get rid of one bag of clutter every day but it can be any size of bag - including a small one - or even a 'notional' bag if you get rid of a piece of furniture or something else without putting it in a bag. And the 'every day' is 'every day that you can manage it.'

The Facebook group is very interesting, people facing up to a lot of the reasons why they haven't thrown things out and sometimes having to accept that a certain phase of life is over to get rid of things they will no longer use but have been clinging onto.

I have also got rid of my pneumonia this week - my 6 week check up showed no signs if any infection or lung impairment. This means although I'm still tired I know that resting is helping me get back up to speed and not a sign that I'm going to get ill again.

And it is still light (just about) at 17.44 - wonderful!

Questions and Thoughts about Lent and Easter

Posted: Sun Mar 15, 2015 7:49 pm
by mumblessed
Glad you are free from pneumonia now Pam - great thing to give up for lent.

My question is on the timing of events in the Easter period. Please forgive my ignorance and be patient with me in any reply.

I thought Jewish people started the new day at sundown rather than 12am as we do - like the Sabbath begins Friday evening and lasts until Saturday evening (but I may be wrong). In which case would the Passover supper have been on Maundy Thursday as we know it, or the Wednesday, in which case which day of the week was our Lord crucified? Christ rose again on the 3rd day - if He was crucified on the Friday as we mark it - would He have risen on the Monday or are we counting the day He died as the first day - as we celebrate it on the Sunday?

I'm confused! Please clarify my muddled brain and be gentle on me!

Questions and Thoughts about Lent and Easter

Posted: Tue Mar 17, 2015 4:30 pm
by Pam
Hi mumblessed

I should know the answer to this as it's come up several times during various bits of training and study I've done, I know it does work out but I'm looking for a clear explanation online so that I can explain how/why!

Questions and Thoughts about Lent and Easter

Posted: Thu Mar 19, 2015 8:03 pm
by mumblessed
Thank you. I've been surfing too and came up with this (Hope I'm allowed to link to external websites)

Does it sound right to you?

Questions and Thoughts about Lent and Easter

Posted: Fri Mar 20, 2015 3:34 pm
by Pam
Yes, there's no problem with linking to external websites as long as they're not advertising and they're 'safe for work'.

That is the sort of thing I was thinking of - I've been looking all over the place to find it but every search brought up a description of how Christians celebrate Holy Week, which wasn't much help.