I hope you are enjoying tucking into your pancakes. If you are like me, then you probably are in the habit of enjoying this particular day cut off from the moorings of its context as the last day before Lent. The idea was that you used up your eggs, flour, milk and sugar before abstaining from the good things in life.
Now, I’m a non conformist and so these particular periods in the church calendar don’t come high up my list of priorities. I’m not one for observing special seasons. Though, I do wonder if we have somehow lost something by decoupling the feast from the fasts. That is however for another day.
Anyway, my take on both Lent and Advent is that there is nothing requiring you to observe them. You won’t be a better Christian or more guaranteed of your salvation if you give up chocolate, or even fast properly. I certainly won’t be letting anyone stick a bit of ash on my forehead on Wednesday.
However, there is also nothing harmful in taking a bit of time to focus on the Gospel, to prioritise meditation on God’s Word and give extra time to prayer. Indeed, fasting itself is something positively encouraged. So, plenty of Christians do find it helpful to set aside the time leading up to Christmas and to Easter for this purpose..
If you fall into that category, then I’ve been working on a resource which I hope you’ll find useful. Some people like to have some form of study book to work through during Lent. This year I’m working on putting together 40 studies working through the book of Isaiah.
We’ll spend “40 days in Isaiah.” Obviously there’s 66 chapters and so the amount of Scripture covered each day will vary. We will also not be able to cover as much detail as we would like. However, I hope you will be helped to spend time in one book of the Bible. We often use passages from Isaiah at Christmas and Easter. The difference with this Lent study is that it will help you to see the more famous passages in context.
Each study will appear on the blog. There’ll be an overview of the Bible passage with some commentary type notes. We’ll also pick up on one or two specific phrases to ponder or meditate on.
If you want some help with how to approach meditation, have a look at this article for some guidance and a case study.
There’ll then be a suggested written prayer to get you started with your own personal prayers.
The daily meditations will be supplemented by some overview and thematic articles looking at the book of Isaiah in more detail. As the series also aligns with what our church are doing I’ll try and include the sermon notes from our overview series each Sunday (there will not be a meditation on the Sundays).
I hope you find the studies helpful You can use them without signing up to the whole Lent deal. I’ll also upload them all together as a PDF afterwards.