Rivers in the Desert
A 40-Day Calendar for Lent
Graphic from Alternatives' collection Worship Alternatives: Art | More ART
Use this 40-day guide for your personal inspiration and growth. Share it with others! Make as many copies as you like without paying any royalty under the Creative Commons attribution, not-for-profit license.
SCROLL DOWN to read.
"Remember not the former things,
nor consider the things of old.
Behold, I am doing a new thing;
now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
and rivers in the desert. . . ." (Isaiah 43: 18-19)
In preparation for his ministry, Jesus spent 40 days in the desert, giving up the things of the world and being tempted three times. Each Lent, we are called to remember the life and teachings of Jesus. We are called to follow in his ministry. We are called to the desert.
This calendar leads us through the desert to Jerusalem. We explore what wilderness means to us. We remember what nourishes us in times of desolation and temptation. We are encouraged to give up the things of old and to try a new thing. We are called to give thanks and to reach out to those in need.
Set aside a period of time each day to consider the day's suggestion. Several of the suggestions will encourage you to collect money to share with those in need, whether it be for a denominational hunger program, a local soup kitchen, or other program. Use a coffee can bank or some other container to collect your offerings. At the end of the forty days, give your offering to the organization of your choice.
1 Ash Wednesday. "Behold, I am doing a new thing." (Isaiah 43:19) What part of your life, your world, is your wilderness this Lent? What new thing might you do or perceive this Lenten season?
2 Thursday. "Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." (Matthew 6:21.) Where is your treasure?
3 Friday. Read Isaiah 58:5-6. What injustice, what oppression do you see around you? How is "undoing the thongs of the yoke" of oppression a form of fasting? Give 5¢ for every injustice you witness today. What role will you play in each unjust situation?
4 Saturday. Read Isaiah 58:7-9. What about these verses nourishes you? What about it frightens you? How can you be a light to the world?
First Sunday in Lent. Read Deuteronomy 26:1-11 and Luke 4:1-13.
5 Monday. One definition of wilderness is: "a barren, empty or open area of any nature." Another is: "a wild condition or quality." How are you experiencing the wilderness so far this Lent?
6 Tuesday. The desert is a place where we are stripped of distractions. Give 5¢ for every TV program you watch today and tomorrow. Give 1¢ for every commercial you see.
7 Wednesday. While in the desert, Jesus was tempted three times. Write on a piece of paper three temptations you are experiencing this Lent. Share your list with one other person.
8 Thursday. Jesus chose to act in the service of God, not himself. In what ways do you serve God?
9 Friday. To what do you devote the "first fruits" of your time, talent and income?
10 Saturday. Find a wilderness area near your home, at a park or at a reserve. Visit the area with a few friends or your family. While you are there, spend forty minutes in silence opening your mind and heart to God. Give 1¢ for every wild creature you see.
Second Sunday in Lent. Read Genesis 15:1-12, 17-18 and Luke 13:31-35.
11 Monday. In Luke 13:34, Jesus compares himself to "a hen [who] gathers her brood under her wings." Have you ever imagined Jesus with the characteristics of a hen? Make a list of the characteristics of Jesus. Give 1¢ for each one you think of.
12 Tuesday. Jesus compares Herod to a fox in Luke 13:32. How does Jesus seek to protect you from the foxes of the world? Are you willing to be protected?
13 Wednesday. Abraham believed and obeyed God and received a covenant. Jerusalem rebuffed and turned away from God. How are you like Abraham? like Jerusalem?
14 Thursday. "God made a covenant with Abraham, saying, 'To your descendants I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the river of Euphrates." (Genesis 15:18) What land do you call home? Say a prayer of thanksgiving.
15 Friday. Like Abraham, some North Americans feel God has given us the land within our national boundaries. Others feel this land was stolen from the original inhabitants. Does anyone own the land? Find out what you can about the "Trail of Tears."
16 Saturday. "Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them." (Genesis 15:5.) Give 1¢ for each star you can count tonight.
Third Sunday in Lent. Read Isaiah 55:1-9 and Luke 13:1-9.
17 Monday. What are the "fruits" of your living? On a blank sheet of paper draw a picture of a tree. Draw a fig on your tree each time you grow in Christ this week.
18 Tuesday. In Isaiah 55:1-2, the prophet proclaims: "Ho, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you that have no money, come, buy and eat!" Do you try to quench your thirst with money, with material things? Does the way of money ever really satisfy your thirst?
19 Wednesday. Give 10¢ for each unused appliance, toy and article of clothing in your home. Why do we sometimes buy things we don't really need?
20 Thursday. "My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord." (Isaiah 55:8.) How is God different from us?
21 Friday. In our fast-paced lives, it is often difficult to find time to "seek the Lord." Spend some extra time in prayer today.
22 Saturday. Think about the great diversity within Christianity. What different denominations do your friends belong to? Give 5¢ for every denomination you can name.
Fourth Sunday in Lent. Read Joshua 5:9-12 and Luke 15:1-3, 11-32.
23 Monday. Remember the hungry and the thirsty. What are you called to do for those in need?
24 Tuesday. In what ways are you the prodigal? In what ways are you the one who stayed home?
25 Wednesday. The father of the prodigal planned a joyous feast when his younger son returned home. How do you give thanks for the children in your extended family? Pray for the well-being of all children of the world. Give 1¢ for every child you see today.
26 Thursday. Reread Joshua 5:11-12. Does this passage remind you of times you stepped out on your own? Reflect on the day you first left home. What gave you comfort?
27 Friday. The people of Israel ate of the fruit of the land of Canaan. Give 5¢ for every item of produce you eat today.
28 Saturday. In Luke 15:1-2, we hear the Pharisees and scribes complaining that Jesus welcomes sinners and eats with them. How can you reach out to those whose opinions and lifestyles differ from yours? How can you judge less and love more?
Fifth Sunday in Lent. Read Isaiah 43:16-21 and John 12:1-8.
29 Monday. Reread John 12:1-8 and read Mark 14:3-9. Do you think Mary knew what was in store for Jesus? Why were the disciples scolded?
30 Tuesday. In what ways do celebration and service intersect in your family?
31 Wednesday. In Isaiah 43:21, we are told that we were created to declare God's praise. Can we offer that praise even while in the midst of the deserts of our lives?
32 Thursday. Rivers have always been an important part of life. They offer water to drink, food to eat, connections to larger waters and distant ports. How many rivers can you name? Give 2¢ for each one.
33 Friday. The end of Lent approaches. What rivers have you found in the desert of this season?
34 Saturday. What might your life be like without water? Give 5¢ each time you use water today. Pray for those who do not have adequate water.
Sixth Sunday in Lent. Read Isaiah 50:4-9 and Luke 19:28-40.
35 Monday. "The Lord needs it." (Luke 19:34.) That was the answer the two disciples gave to the owner of the colt. What does God need from you? Recount three different times you have heard God say, "I need you." Give 25¢ for each time you were obedient to the call.
36 Tuesday. In a darkened room, light one candle. Read John 12:27-36 aloud to yourself or to others. Allow for a few moments of silence.
37 Wednesday. The crowds followed Jesus into Jerusalem with praise and adoration. Yet, a few days later they were not to be found. Think of ways you can be more faithful in your commitment to Jesus.
38 Maundy Thursday. Gather as a family or with a small group of friends. Read John 13:5-17. Take turns washing each other's feet. Discuss, "How does God call us to serve others?" Give 10¢ for each act of service you witness during your gathering.
39 Good Friday. Throughout his life, Jesus aligned himself with those who were oppressed. Even in his death, he was on the side of those who suffer injustice. How is Jesus with those who are oppressed today? How can you be on the side of the oppressed?
40 Easter Eve. Read Luke 24:1-12. The women disciples were stunned to find the tomb empty. Peter was "amazed at what had happened." Spend one hour in silence pondering the many ways God continues to amaze us.
Easter Sunday Evening. Read Isaiah 25:6-9 and Luke 24:13-49. How does Jesus come to you today? Read the story of "The Shoemaker's Dream." (Check your local library or bookstore. Or order from Alternatives.) Give the money you collected to the organization of your choice.
For other celebration resources, visit SimpleLivingWorks.org >> Archives. Resources for responsibly living and celebrating since 1973.
Page updated 3 Jan. 2014
Simple Living Works! * SimpleLivingWorks@Yahoo.com
BLOG: SimpleLivingWorks.WordPress.com | Blog INDEX
PODCAST | Podcast INDEX
MISSION: Equipping people of faith to challenge consumerism, live justly and celebrate responsibly // An all volunteer educational organization.