This coming week, (at the end of the summer season, when the grasses and our gardens are brown and dry) will see ‘Ash Wednesday’ mark the sacred time of Lent.
In the tradition of Christ followers, the 40 days of Lent, leading up to Easter, has been a time of spiritual self examination. It was also a time of learning. For those who were new in their experience of Jesus, the forty days of Lent mirrored Jesus’ own journey of forty days in the wilderness, testing his own identity and call to baptism and ministry. This process would prepare people for the initiation rite of water baptism on the morning of Easter Sunday where people would symbolically be ‘born again’, rising from the waters of death with the risen Christ.
As inner-city Baptist churches we are seeking to renew these wilderness traditions and ourselves in our own Lenten journey of discovery of what it means to follow Jesus today. We are calling it 40 ways in 40 days.(#40ways40days) It’s a mix of of reading and doing; eating and sharing. It combines self led readings and practical daily exercises for spiritual growth alongside a social media campaign and the common gatherings of our churches.
We are inviting our Partners, Volunteers and Friends to consider taking up a topic or two from the list below, to think about it and share a short paragraph about how it may connect with you, remind you of a story, initiate action or reflection or simply offer some words of wisdom. You may want to share a photo, a link, some art or a poem that reflects the theme/command of Jesus and your own personal joy or struggle. You can choose a theme by simply replying to this email as suggested below.
#40ways40days involves immersing ourselves in Matthew’s story of Jesus (the gospel read across the world in churches during 2014). Matthew presents Jesus as ‘The Human One’, the great teacher about how to be more fully human and how we might know our reality as the ‘kingdom /economy of heaven’. We believe this story is not just ancient words on a page but a powerful living reality whose rhythms and themes invite connection and transformation of our own stories. As a way of connecting you will be invited to read and reflect upon part of the story each day, progressing through the whole gospel.
#40ways40days is also an invitation to practice. We have focused Matthew’s story around forty basic commands and questions of Jesus. One for each day. We will be considering what followers of Jesus are asked to do and seeking to give it a try, considering what issues arise and how it looks and feels to ‘follow’ in our bodies and shared lives?
Because Jesus is ‘the human one’ we believe following Jesus is for everyone and anyone no matter your background or belief. Over Lent we will host various open gatherings and discussion in cafe’s, homes and churches about our unique joys and struggles that come as a result of this journey.
FORTY WAYS IN MATTHEW’S STORY
1. Repent & Follow 4:17-19
2. Rejoice in Persecution 5:12
3. Shine! 5:16 (10.32)
4. Respect the Law 5:17-18
5. Reconcile/Forgive : 5:24-25, (4:12,10.32,18:15-35)
6. Cut it Out: Deformity before Conformity 5:29-30
7. Keep Your Word: No Oaths! 5:37
8. Practice Non Violence 5:38-48
9. Give 6:1-4, (10:8,19:16-22)
10. Pray like… 6:5-6 (5:7-8, 5:44)
11. Store up treasure 6:19-20,33
12. Don’t worry 6: 25-34, (10:19)
13. Don’t judge 7:1-3
14. Value the pearls 7:6
15. Do unto others…7:12
16. Take Alternate Route 7:13-14
17. Be On Guard 7:15,(Matthew 16:6;15:6, 23:23, 24:4-6)
18. Leave the dead 8:22,15:4
19. Seek Work/ers 9:38
20. Start at Home 10:6
21. Listen and Tell 10:7 (4:24,7:16-23,13:18-23,43)
22. Heal & Exorcise 10:8
23. Travel Light 10:9
24. Seek People of Peace 10:11
25. Shake the Dust 10:14
26. Be Shrewd & Innocent 10:16
27. Be not Afraid 10:26-31 (1:20, 14:27, 17:7 28:5-10)
28. Rethink Peace 10:34 (5:9, 10:13)
29. Take My Yoke 11:29-30
30. Feed Them 14:16
31. Pay Tax 17:23-25 (11:19, 22:15-22)
32. Value Children 18:10, (19:13)
33. Serve 20:20-28
34. Love God and Neighbour 22:34-40
35. Flee/Seek Asylum 24:16
36. Read the Signs 24:32-35, (24:3-8, 21:18-22)
37. Keep Watch 26:36-44
38. Share Eucharist 26:26-30
39. Go 28:19
40. Baptise 28:19
3. Receive a Weekly Email Summary over the 40 days of Lent
4. Like to attend Moreland / Newmarket Baptist Church during Lent/Easter
5. Like to attend a #40ways40days local meal/discussion.