Archive for the ‘lent event’ Category

Lent has begun

Posted: February 11, 2008 in lent event
Lent Event

Wednesday the 6th Feb marked the beginning of Lent – whats Lent? its the season of 40 days [minus sundays] before Easter which encourages greater simplicity and focus on God. the period invites us to ‘travel’ with Jesus towards Good Friday which marks his execution. Its a time to take stock of our own lives, and enter a spiritual journey of simplicity, discipline and devotion.

UnitingSpiritually has been participating in Lent Event for the past couple of years. this year our Thursday night dinner will participate as a community, both giving up and taking on. Each thursday we’ll collect donations that will be given to Lent Event after easter to go towards projects in developing communities in Zambia, Sth India, Sudan, West Timor, and Papua New Guinea. Check out more about UnitingSpiritually & giving stuff up and of course the Lent Event website

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Lent & Lent Event

Posted: February 15, 2007 in lent event
Thinking through Lent and the connection between spiritual discipline & providing charity

Lent is the period of 40 days leading up to Easter day (Sunday). It does not include Sundays as Sunday is traditionally seen as the day of resurrection, new life and hope. The number 40 is significant as it is the time Jesus is said to have been in the wilderness prior to beginning his public life of teaching and healing & service.

Lent is an invitation to become more intentional in our contemplations about faith and life. It’s a time when we can ask spiritual questions of ourselves (or often have them asked of us). This normally translates into questions and revelations about everyday life – how we spend our time and money; what we hope for and anticipate; what we say and who we say it to; how we act and react. Most faith and spiritual traditions have times of increased discipline and focus. For the Christian tradition there are two major times, which come as preparation to the two most significant festivals of the church – Christmas and Easter. Lent is the season of preparation for Easter.

Many people speak of Lent as a journey. In many respects the 40 days will be a bit of an unknown, and bring potential learning and insights. Lent is also about discipline. Many of us might have negative connotations of the idea of discipline. We may remember an authority figure demeaning us, or think of a child that’s in need of pulling into line. But the word discipline comes from disciple, meaning someone that is willing to learn. Many artists, musicians and sports people speak continuously of discipline (they even speak of learning a particular discipline) – that is learning their craft. Through absolute commitment and focus in learning the skills they desire, they invariably – by the very nature of the process – grow in maturity and knowledge. That in many respects is the journey, a journey of wisdom and learning.

In spiritual terms Henri Nouwen writes that “Discipline is the creation of boundaries that keep time and space open for God – a time and place where God’s gracious presence can be acknowledged and responded to.”[1] It’s a time that we can be open to new insights, ideas and perceptions about ourselves and the world in which we live. In this I believe we come to experience and know God.

Excess: finally, in the simplifying of our lives which often happens during Lent, we discover that perhaps we have stuff we don’t need like we thought we did. Lent Event builds on this premise, an invites people who find they have excess cash from their Lenten journey or discipline to channel that money into developing communities in need. You may choose to participate in Lent or Lent Event for a number of reasons. It may be as a humanitarian response to those communities in need, and therefore you’re willing to forgo something to raise some cash. Or you may come from the other end of the scale where Lent is purely a spiritual exercise in which a by-product happens to free finances to assist someone else. And of course there are many places in the middle – and all of these are legitimate, as they help us engage with the world around us, by thinking through what we have, and what we need.

Some ideas to reflect on and begin to take it further:

# Lent Event: http://unitingspiritually.blogspot.com/2007/01/lent-event.html & http://lentevent.com

# Movie: 40 days & 40 nights

A comedy with Josh Hartnett & Shannyn Sossamon – a story of a Matt Sullivan, the brother of a Catholic Priest giving up sex for Lent. Rated MA, contains sexual references.

# Living on $2 a day http://www.msainfo.org/newsletter/issue.asp?id=114#517. The story of a family who cuts their food budget to $2 a day per person. This story demonstrates that giving to others [whether it is an individual, a cause, a program or charity] from the excess accumulated by simplifying our living is a natural progression. This is important in reflecting on why we may contribute funds to Lent Event.


[1] Lent and Easter Wisdom from Henri Nouwen, compiled by Judy Bauer, Ligouri Press, Ligouri Missouri 2005, p4.

Lent Event – give up & give life

Posted: January 31, 2007 in lent event

WHAT?
Lent Event is a project designed to get people thinking about what they have and what others may not! In a 40 day period before Easter (LENT) you are encouraged to give up something that you would normally spend money on & instead give that money to one of 5 projects. The projects: Papua New Guinea (clean drinking water); South India (Hill Tribe development); West Timor (Micro-credit schemes); Zimbabwe (Water Harvesting); & Zambia (orphaned & vulnerable children support). Each project assists in the ongoing development of local communities.


SO HOW & WHEN?
This event is not just about JUSTICE and EQUALITY for developing communities, but it’s also a SPIRITUAL journey. Each time we stop and consider what we may give up to assist another we reflect on our lives; what’s important; what we may take for granted; & whether we actually have the ability to go without! But perhaps most importantly it dares to teach us how to empathise with other human beings in very different places & situations to us.

Currently there is a group of young-adults connected with UOW who are committed to giving something (or things) up! Some of us are even going to get together & have a very simple dinner once a week to share the experience over the 6 ½ weeks (yes, 40 days not including Sundays!) There are also some studies & reflections based on the bible during the period that help to reflect on what all this can mean.

Lent Event kicks off on Wednesday 21st Feb (or when you start) & runs all the way up to Easter Sat 7th April.


WHAT NOW?
Ready to join us? Simply grab a participants kit & get thinking about what YOU could give up!

chocolate? car? beer? phone? coke? electricity? cigarettes? tv?

The choice is simple & it’s yours!

UnitingSpiritually is a christian faith community connected with UOW.
More info? Contact Uniting Church Chaplain, Dave Williamson davew[at]uow.edu.au