from Rev. Sandra Cox, Pastor of Faith Formation

Well, I hope you’ve gotten all your Christmas decorations put away. Because Lent will begin in just 12 days! Yes, Lent will begin on February 10 on a day we call Ash Wednesday. Lent is the season that leads us to Easter. So Lent is understood as a time to reflect: on who we are as a follower of Jesus and how we might grow in that identity.

Our denomination’s website has a good article explaining some of the methods people have traditionally used to undergo some personal reflection and prepare themselves for the celebration of Easter (which, by the way, will be March 27 this year). I invite you to take a look and see if there might be one or two you might want to try on yourself this year. Twitter followers will find there a special invitation to join the “40-day Journey Called Lent” with a special #.

One tradition I will highlight is the practice of reading a devotion/meditation every day. Many, many resources are available, but I want to suggest a few for you. I hope that you will find one that you find intriguing and fits your lifestyle.

  1. The Upper Room publishes a devotional pamphlet, The Upper Room, that is available at church. A United Methodist publisher that focuses on spirituality and spiritual growth, they publish many books as well as the daily devotional. Recently they made the daily devotionals available digitally and as apps for both Apple and Android. I highly recommend the app for accessibility and graphics.
  1. The Society of St. Andrew’s main mission is to provide food for those who hunger in body and in spirit. To provide food for the body, they salvage fresh, nutritious produce from American farms that would otherwise be left to rot (known as gleaning) and deliver it to agencies across the nation that serve the poor. To provide food for the spirit, they offer an online Lenten devotional based on readings and reflections on the parable of the prodigal son. While Still Far Off explores the theme of God’s unmerited grace, reaching out to us in love even when we are not ready to receive it, written by people of deep and abiding faith: pastors and laypersons from many Christian traditions. Always an interesting read from a great organization.
  1. My Quiet Spaces is an email subscription daily devotional written by Beth A. Richardson that includes daily devotions. Richardson is an ordained deacon in the United Methodist Church and is the editor of Alive Now, a spiritual formation magazine published by The Upper Room. She is also a photographer, practical philosopher, and author. You can subscribe to receive her daily devotionals that will include a short prayer, a scripture, a “musing,” and a photograph. You can also follow Richardson on Twitter @betharichardson. Richardson will help you see new dimensions in your soul.
  1. Alive Now is a publication of The Upper Room, edited by Beth A. Richardson (see #3!). You can subscribe to a paper copy or a digital format. It also provides a daily reflection that you can access online or subscribe to receive as an email. You can also follow Alive Now on Facebook (Alive Now Magazine) or Twitter @AliveNowMag. These are great options to appreciate a daily photograph captioned with a thought for the day. These photos are always worth 1000 words.

This Lent, I invite you to join me in spending time each day sharing in one of these resources and contemplating how God wraps grace around you each and every day.