Posted by: Postordinandy | March 5, 2014

Lent challenges

lent

Today is Ash Wednesday – the start of Lent: a season of reflection and preparation in the Christian calendar. It starts on Ash Wednesday, and lasts for forty days (it doesn’t include the Sundays), ending on Friday April 18th (which is Good Friday). Good Friday is the day Christians remember the story of Jesus’ death on the cross, and Easter Sunday is when Christians celebrate his resurrection.

Fasting, from both food and festivities is a traditional part of Lent. Fasting is common in many religions, and careful occasional fasting can bring some health benefits. Some people fast for the whole of the Lent period, while others surrender a particular vice such as an unhealthy food or smoking.

Lent is also used by many, of all faiths and none, as a chance to ‘take stock’ of life: To make a little more time for ourselves and those around us; to think about the wider issues of life; and to ‘give something back’. Increasingly, people are also using Lent as a time to take up activities or habits that are positive.

The Chaplaincy Team where I work (Oasis Academy Enfield) have invited all students, staff and parents to share Lent with us this year, by taking up some or all of the challenges I collected into a booklet for them. Would you be up for the challenge too?

Some are easier than others, and a few require some forward planning. But doing them may just change your life – and that of those around you – a little for the better. Don’t worry if some are too hard, or you forget a few days – just give some of them a go.

You don’t have to have a faith or be religious in any way to do any of them.

There is a challenge for each day of lent, but of course you can tackle them in a different order if you wish. Some have further information or contact details if appropriate, and there is also space for your own reflection once you complete a challenge, if you choose.

lent

I have listed the challenges below (also available as an attachment here: Lent Challenges). A similar idea has been published by Nadia Bolz Weber of the House for All Sinners and Saints’ in the US, have a look there for some other great ideas.

Let me know if you have any fun with any of them!

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Weds 5th March: Say “sorry” to that person you need to, (You know who they are). You may prefer write them a letter if you feel unable to do this face to face.

Thurs 6th: Gather your loose change.

Put it somewhere at the end of the day, and donate what you collect during Lent to a local charity. £1 a day would leave you with £40 to donate.

Friday 7th: Try to listen more & talk less today.

Sat 8th: Feed the birds:  The RSPB have plenty of helpful information on their website.

lent(Sunday)

Mon 10th: Learn a poem off by heart “I wandered lonely as a cloud…” Visit here for some ideas.

Tues 11th: Buy flowers for someone who doesn’t deserve them.

Weds 12th: Learn some basic 1st Aid Training courses: St John’s Ambulance or The Red Cross.

Thurs 13th: Buy a copy (or more) of the Big Issue.

Friday 14th: Have lunch with someone you don’t know well.

Sat 15th: Wake up before dawn and watch the sun rise. This year, (in London) sunrise is expected at 6.03 am on the 15th, (see here for other locations and times). If you have time and energy, go somewhere fairly high up before the sun rises for the full effect.
lent(Sunday)

Mon 17th: Buy a Crisis KitAnd help someone who is homeless.

Tues 18th: Buy One, Get One Free And give the free one away!

Weds 19th: Arrange to Give blood: The National Blood Service.

Thurs 20th: Write to someone who inspired you …and tell them how you hope to inspire other.

Fri 21st: Learn to be friendly in another language: Thank youShukran (Arabic); Se Se (Chinese); Nintri (Tamil); Dziekuje (Polish); Doyno baad (Bengali)

Sat 22nd: Walk around your street picking up litter.

lent(Sunday)

Mon 24th: Stick to the speed limit… or make sure those driving you around do!

Tues 25th: Buy some Fairtrade chocolate & share some with strangers.

Weds 26th: Talk to someone from a different cultural background to you.

Thurs 27th: Smile more!

Fri 28th: Learn about human trafficking.

Sat 29th: Make a cake and share it with your neighbour.

lent(Sunday)

Mon 31st: Buy something from a charity shop… and pay more than the asking price.

Tues 1st April: Say something nice about someone behind their back.

Weds 2nd: Collect some food for the local Food Bank.

Thurs 3rd: Say “Thank you” as often as you can. Try it on any postmen, road sweepers, police officers, etc you see.

Friday 4th: Consider fasting for the day.

Sat 5th: Walk around a local park.

lent(Sunday)

Mon 7th: Make Easter cards for your neighbour.

Tues 8th: Invite your neighbour in for a cuppa.

Weds 9th: Learn at least one good joke.

Thurs 10th: Take 5 things from your house to a charity shop.

Friday 11th: Consider sponsoring a child with World Vision or Action Aid.

Sat 12th: Invite some friends around for a meal.

lent(Sunday)

Mon 14th: Go to the library and learn about local history.

Tues 15th: Spend 10 minutes in silence today.

Weds 16th: Phone that person you’ve been meaning to for ages.

Thurs 17th: Work out what your hourly wage is (or a day’s pocket money) …and give that amount away!

Friday 18th: Get ready to celebrate Easter – share a story about what happened during Lent.

lent(Easter Saturday and Easter Sunday)

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The ideas in this booklet come from a wide range of sources, including (but not limited to):

We are what we do”     www.wearewhatwedo.org

Love Life, Live Lent”     www.livelent.net

Do Lent Generously”     www.40acts.org.uk

St Luke’s Church, Walthamstow     www.walthamstowchurch.org.uk

Edited by Andy Campbell, Chaplain at Oasis Academy Enfield (London, UK), Feb 2014.

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