lent: into the wilderness
PUrpose of lent
“Lent”, which really just means Spring, is a time of reflection, repentance, prayer and fasting. In its earliest and purest iterations, Lent was a time to mimic the forty days that Jesus spent fasting in the wilderness. As followers of Jesus we feel it’s important to follow Jesus wherever He may lead. At Oasis we’re following Jesus into the wilderness to experience some of the suffering and dependence He experienced.
How we’re engaging lent
Here are some practices that we’re doing here at Oasis.
Reflection: This is good time to take stock of our lives. A good question to ask ourselves would be, “Am I seeking first His Kingdom and His righteousness?” In other words, am I focused on loving God and loving my neighbor. We all get caught up in the day to day business of life. Lent allows us the opportunity to take some moments for quiet, to take a step back and examine where our priorities lie.
Repentance: As we reflect on our lives we may realize that our priorities do not align with God’s. We get to then “repent” or turn our attention and priorities back towards God’s purposes. It is the life long practice of every believer of Jesus to continually make course adjustments during our lives to make sure we’re headed towards God’s will.
Prayer: During Lent we place a special importance and priority in praying. We ask God to look at our hearts and show us what He wants to change. We ask God to change the things in our heart that He shows. We ask forgiveness relying on ourselves too much or for doing things our way. We thank God for His abundant provisions. We ask God continually show us who we are and how we can participate in what He is doing.
Fasting: Fasting is simply giving up some portion of food or more metaphorically, something essential or habitual to your lifestyle. There are many ways to fast, but here are some suggestions for Lent.
1. Give up something that is a habit for you.
2. Give up an activity or food item that is a favorite.
2. fast one meal a week. During that mealtime read scripture and pray.
3. Fast from all meals one day a week. (we’re doing Wednesday at sundown to Thursday at sundown.) During those mealtimes read scripture and pray.
4. Feast Days (Cheat days): Every Sunday is called a “Feast Day” during Lent. This means you can come off or your fasts for Sundays only leading up to Easter. Sundays are called Feast Days because we share in the Lord’s Feast or Communion on those days and we celebrate Jesus resurrection, therefore we cannot fast because this is a time for joy.
Scriptures: suggested reading during meal fasts, meditation or daily devotion. Some scriptures will be repeated purposefully. We want the scriptures to go deep into our selves. We want them to become part of who we are.
Devotional Thought: Fasting
Fasting, in the scriptures was about getting closer to God. It was about letting God be your sustenance during your time of fasting. We give up one of our most basic needs, in so doing we also ignore our normal pleasures, to allow Jesus to be our food. Jesus called Himself the Bread of Heaven. As you fast, take that meal time to reflect on how God has provided for you. Give Him thanks for the things you have been given.
Devotional Action: Pick a thing to fast from. It could be a weekly meal, a favorite treat (like sodas, energy drinks, candy, desserts) or pick a day of the week to fast. Or consider fasting from things like social media, screen time, or other entertainments. Or all of the above.
During your fast time (the time you would normally use to eat a meal, or be on social media, etc.) to read and meditate on scripture or take that time to pray or both! we have suggested readings above if you don’t have anything else in mind.
If you’re going to engage in fasting meals, make sure you check with your doctor to see if it is safe for you.