10805 Main St. Huntley, IL 60142

March Note

From Pastor Ryan

“What are you giving up for Lent?”

This is a question very often heard at the start of Lent each year and it invariably leads to a follow-up questions a few weeks later; “How are you doing with your sacrifice?”

I can remember first learning about the practice of sacrificing something for Lent when I was kid, and I remember not fully understanding what the practice meant, only that it was something Christians did every Lent. I can also remember being very surprised some years later when someone shared with me that they were actually adding something to their lives during that year’s Lenten journey. “Is that possible? Is that allowed?” I thought to myself. The idea led me into my first exploration of the meaning of Lent and its practices. It didn’t take me long to see the beauty in adding something to one’s life, either in addition to, or in place of a sacrifice.

Lent is a season of preparation for Easter. Like Advent, it is a time during which we take stock of our lives and do some “spring cleaning” to make more room for God’s activity in our lives. The idea is that we set ourselves up to receive the Resurrected Jesus on Easter Sunday with hearts bursting with joy.

In order to do that, we take time to cut something out of our lives may be distancing us from a deeper faith, a closer relationship with God, and a keener ability to sense movement of the Holy Spirit in our lives. This can be done by either subtraction or addition. For example, cutting out excessive screen time can open our minds and our eyes to see the beauty of creation or the needs of others or God showing us something new. Cutting out junk foods can improve our health, helping us to take better care of our bodies (temples) to God. Likewise, adding some time for devotion, setting a goal to read the Bible every day, or beginning a new learning opportunity can also serve to bring us closer to Jesus during the Lenten season.

Lenten practices are not a one-size-fits-all. There are so many ways to engage in a Lenten practice that makes room for God’s activity and draws us closer to Jesus that there is almost no wrong way to do it…as long as our motives are good. Does giving up chocolate (for example) really accomplish this (if so, great!), or is it simply a goal to check of the list and feel proud of? Are we giving up certain things to be healthier? Great! But I also encourage you to think about what sort of spiritual element accompanies your practice.

With that, I ask, “What is your practice for this Lenten journey?”

I wish you well this Lenten season and eagerly await the day we can once again share the news that Jesus is risen indeed! May your journey be fruitful, and may God bless you every day.


Pastor Ryan

Email Pastor Ryan:  pastorryan@sotpmail.com

Link to summer of 2024 Youth Gathering website for those interested in more information:  https://www.elca.church/gathering