Lenten sacrifices usually involve six whole weeks without this or that. No coffee. No soda. No chocolate, no whatever.
The Mennonite Mission Network has a broader take. Its monthly magazine, Beyond Ourselves, came in the mail today with a Lenten calendar as its centerfold.
Each day was marked with a single suggestion. Some are “sacrifices of material goods” but others are sacrifices of prayer, or relationship, or kindness or even routine.
Most of the ideas are meant to be practiced one day, or week, at a time, rather than as one long fast during the entire season of Lent, which begins on Feb. 25 this year for most churches in our area. Some of the more unique suggestions include:
¬ “Many people without cars must walk. Use a pedometer to track your steps today. Subtract from 10,000 and donate a penny to mission for each step you lack.”
¬ “Leave your cell phone turned off during the day this week. At the end of each day, donate $1 for each voice mail you’ve received.”
¬ “Turn off the radio in your car while driving. Use that extra quiet time to pray for all who are feeling the effects of the economic downturn.”
¬ “Give up going out to eat this week. Donate the money you would have spent at restaurants.”
¬ “Count the number of canned goods in you home. Donate a dime per can to mission, or give 10 percent of your cans to a local food pantry.”
¬ “Count the number of coats and jackets in your closet. Donate $2 per coat, or donate you best jacket to a local homeless shelter.”
¬ “Count the pairs of shoes you own. Donate 50 cents per pair to mission, or donate a pair of your best shoes to a local homeless shelter.”
¬ “Notice where the food you eat today was grown or produced. Pray for those places and the people who produce your food.”
¬ “Turn your heat down 10 degrees this week. Donate 50 per degree to mission, or give the extra clothes and blankets you used to stay warm to a local shelter.”
¬ “Count the number of books in your home. Donate a nickel per book to mission, or offer some of the books to a local school library.”
¬ “Count the number of toiletries (toothpaste, mouthwash, shampoo, mousse, bars of soap, etc.) you have in your bathroom. Donate 50 center per item to mission.”
Seem doable? Or have you already decided to make some other sort of sacrifice this Lent? What will it be?
See the full calendar of Lenten sacrifices here.