Lent is a 40-day journey in which we practice denial in an effort to recognize the distance between who we are and who we’re becoming in Christ. It’s an ancient practice designed to help us embrace our humanity, recognize our ongoing need for a Savior, and encounter grace in refreshing ways.
This year, Open Door will practice Lent in a unique, communal, and experiential kind of way:
The Lent Project: Six Practices of Intentional Denial.
Throughout this journey, we will engage in six different practices of denial and, in so doing, create margin to commune with Jesus in silence and solitude, community with others, and solidarity with the majority world.
Here’s how it’ll work:
At each Gathering during the Lent Season (March 9 – April 20), we will initiate that particular week’s practice. Then, for the next 7 days, we’ll live it out (Sunday evening to the following Saturday evening). For those of us in Circles, we’ll meet together to process, storytell, and learn from each other throughout the week.
If you’re not currently in a Circle but would like to join one to journey through the Lent Project with others, contact Heidi & Clint.
Here are the 6 Practices of Intentional Denial:
- Media Fast :: Turn off all media (Computers, TV’s, iPads, iPhones) from 8pm-8am. Replace the time that would normally be spent engaging media with silence, rest, and community. This first experience will prepare you well for the next five. Media Fast will be launched on Sunday, March 9th.
- Essentials Only :: Reduce your spending to the essentials: bills, toiletries, and 3 simple meals/day. Simple meals should be prepared and eaten at home (brown-bag @ work) rather than out and should include pot-luck style shared tables with others. This experience will help us face our consumerism and convenience spending while also helping us to consider budgeted and generous living. What will you do with the money that you didn’t spend? How could you pool it together with your Circle to invest in the flourishing of others? Essentials Only will be launched on Sunday, March 16th.
- Majority World Diet :: Eat on $3/day by utilizing Trade As One’s majority world diet kit. Each kit contains enough rice and beans (& preparation instructions) for one person for five days. This experience of intentionally simplifying your diet will help you stand in solidarity with the majority world and will help you understand how much money you actually spend on food every week. Note: the average savings per person will be $75-$100. What will you do with the money that you didn’t spend? How could you pool it together with your Circle to invest in the flourishing of others? Majority World Diet will be launched on Sunday, March 23rd.
- Comfort Fast :: Give up either your bed (sleep on the floor) or warm showers (cold showers are acceptable) for the week. As we stand in solidarity with the majority world, allow Jesus to awaken us to our preferences for convenience and luxury. If you’re really up for a challenge, give up both! Comfort Fast will be launched on Sunday, March 30th.
- Environment Fast :: Make decisions to reduce your gasoline consumption by at least half. This could include utilizing public transportation or the casual carpool and/or walking and biking rather than driving. This may include tele-commuting rather than heading into the office and turning down your water-heater. No doubt, this experience will continue to help us confront our convenience and should reduce our commitments for the week. What will you do with the money that you didn’t spend? How could you pool it together with your Circle to invest in the flourishing of others? Environment Fast will be launched on Sunday, April 6th.
- Extras Purge :: Take an inventory of all of your belongings. How many extra coats, shoes, appliances, electronics, shirts, pants, dishes & pans, etc. do you have? Face your excess and live generously as you purge your extras. Perhaps you could initiate an exchange with other friends, donate your extras or give them away. Perhaps you could pool your extras together with those in our Circle and host a garage sale. Perhaps we could take an inventory of the surplus of Open Door’s extras so that we could meet tangible needs of those within Open Door as well as those we’re connected with. If money is raised, what will you do with it? How could you pool it together with your Circle to invest in the flourishing of others? Extras Purge will be launched on Sunday, April 13th.
As you engage this pilgrimage as an individual and in community with others, here are some questions to take you deeper into the experience and into intimacy with God, self, and others:
- What challenge am I / are we experiencing?
- What does this practice expose about me / us?
- What is helpful about this practice?
- What is one highlight from this week?
- What is Jesus saying to me / us?
- What am I / are we going to do about it?
- What will our Circle do with the excess $$$?