Lent begins this year on Ash Wednesday 14 February (St Valentine’s Day) and the Church of England have produced some useful resources to support the season.
“Watch and Pray challenges us to seek God in both familiar and unfamiliar places: in darkness and in quiet; in movement and migration; in the healing and transforming work of the Spirit; in the weeping of Holy Week and in the joy of Easter morning.”
Archbishops Justin Welby and Stephen Cottrell
This Lent we are encouraged to wait expectantly for God to meet us and sustain us through the storms and trials we all face.
The Church of England’s Lent theme for 2024 is Watch and Pray: Wisdom and hope for Lent and life.
On the night he was betrayed, Jesus kneels in darkness in the Garden of Gethsemane. Though he pleads with his disciples, “Stay here with me … Watch and pray,” they all fall asleep, leaving him alone in his hour of deepest suffering.
This Lent all of us are encouraged to draw on the wisdom of Black Spirituality, particularly the practice of “tarrying” (waiting) as a community to draw closer to Jesus and to each other. Combining exuberant singing, fervent prayer and quiet lament, such services typically take place at night and last somewhat longer than the “one hour” Jesus asked of those first followers.
This year’s resources have been inspired and informed by the 2024 Archbishop of Canterbury’s Lent book, Tarry Awhile: Wisdom from Black Spirituality for people of faith by Selina Stone (SPCK). The daily reflections booklet for adults (CHP) exploring the same themes has been written by Carlton Turner, and there is also a daily challenge booklet for children and families (CHP).
Watch and Pray invites us to seek God in both familiar and unfamiliar places this Lent: in darkness and in quiet; in movement and migration; in the healing and transforming work of the Spirit; in the weeping of Holy Week and in the joy of Easter morning.