Love for Lent Overview

During Lent, when we remember Christ’s death, let’s not forget that the Roman Empire executed Jesus as a political threat. As we face into an election year in the U.S., we need to recall the political witness of Jesus, whose central teaching is, “Repent for the Kingdom of God is at hand.”

Rather than giving up something small like sugar for Lent, let’s take up Jesus’ political witness. In chapter four of Matthew, Jesus goes through his own forty-day version of Lent in the desert as Satan tempts him with provisions (bread), power (commanding angels), and prestige (ruling all kingdoms). These are essentially the tools of politics as usual. Beginning in Matthew 5, however, Jesus preaches the Sermon on the Mount—which is a constitution for a kingdom governed by what Martin Luther King Jr. called “the weapon of love.” It’s a whole new way of politics, a way that God’s people are to model, a way that seeks to bless and love.

In the Love for Lent journey, each week we will give up something, but we will also take up a practice of love. We will seek to love brothers and sisters in the “beloved community,” immigrants, our enemies, the poor, across racial lines, creation, and God.

It is best to walk this Lenten journey with others. If you commit to it, please try to find one or two or five or ten other people who will do it with you.

Following are some helpful considerations before you embark on the journey:

  • The devotional goes through the entire Sermon on the Mount. For the first two weeks, each day is given to a Beatitude (which is just one verse). During the third week, we will continue by reading several verses a day as we work our way through the Sermon on the Mount. We slow down in the fourth week as we consider each line of the Lord’s Prayer individually. During weeks five and six, we then finish the Sermon on the Mount. In the final week (Holy Week), we switch to Matthew’s passion narrative.
  • While some of the scriptural passages are short, and others are longer, try to read them all through several times, using the practice of lectio divina.
  • The devotionals require 15–25 minutes a day. The weekly check-in with others should take 30–60 minutes. Finally, most weeks include action steps, which will take 1–2 hours per week.
  • On some days, the devotionals include a poem, music, or additional resources. . These are meant as an optional supplement for those who are interested.
  • There are daily devotionals six days a week, with a combined devotional for Saturdays and Sundays. The Saturday/Sunday devotional looks back on the previous week and plans for the upcoming week.
  • Each week follows a rhythm, with an emphasis for each day: reflect (Sat/Sun), contemplate (Mon), lament (Tues), commune (Wed), pray (Thurs), and engage (Fri).
  • Since the first week begins on Ash Wednesday, the exercises for that week only span three days.
  • For a daily view of the entire season, click here.

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