Christians/Social Media/Lent/Yes!

I am grateful that so many people have stopped by to read my post on social media and Lent (here).  Thank you for visiting and for your comments both here and on Twitter and Facebook!   Thank you for reposting links to my blog on your own pages.

I want to elaborate just a little on yesterday's post and then to move on to a more positive topic:  What I encourage people to do with social media during Lent and what's going to be happening on this blog during Lent.

First, a reminder that my urging is not to discourage Lenten discipline or fasting.  I am all for that - Lent is a wonderful season in which to focus on one's prayer life, to give up something and donate the money saved on that to charity (i.e., the ancient practice of almsgiving), to journey inward with self-examination with a view toward centering oneself in God, in the Holy.  My past Lenten practices have been a major part of my own discernment of my vocation.  (A little about my plans for Lent this year are set out in this post.)  I also am not promoting lazy use of cyber messages to replace face time and fellowship.

What I do wish for regarding Christians and social media is that we will take on the discipline of adding our voices to the conversations that are going on out there in cyberspace.... that our tweets and Facebook posts will focus on God's love, the church's work, Christian community; that we will provide food for thought, prayer, charity, justice, renewal, love, generosity, sanctuary (perhaps instead of posting our Scrabble scores).  That we will make the effort to foster community and make space/host place for conversation, especially to those who mostly hear negative things about the church and about religious beliefs and practices.

In other words, my hope is that Christians (both clergy and church staff who do the communications for the parish and also all Christians) will use social media to reach out to people both with the news that God is Love and that Love is stronger than death AND to invite them to participate in the church's Lenten offerings.  (That presupposes, of course, that the churches and faith communities are hosting services of prayer, Lenten suppers, Lenten learning programs, coffee church, music programs, Bible studies, etc.  If yours is not, maybe you could start something youself.)  There is so much great stuff going on during Lent, the time when people traditionally prepared themselves for baptism at the Easter Vigil.  This is a great time to invite others to come with us, to learn together, to pray together, to eat together, to explore doubts and hopes and fears together.

It's also a great time to add the discipline of praying for the people who come up on your newsfeed every day, as I mentioned in my previous post.

So my hope is that people will use social media to let the world know what their faith communities have to offer and to invite their friends and neighbors to come and see, as Jesus said.  Post prayers, links to devotions, invitations to events.

Last year during Lent here at The Large Party, I posted prayers three times a day and wrote a daily reflection.  You can go to the "labels" cloud on the right hand column of this blog and click "Lent" and see all of those posts and use them for your own Lenten prayer and reflection time this year as well.  I hope you will come back often and find something of value here - food for thought, respite, inspiration.

This year, I will be posting a variety of things during Lent - fewer prayers (there are plenty from last year!) and the ones I post will often be prayers I write myself - a continuing daily reflection - links to music or video offerings - as well as devotional posts from other sources (friends' blogs etc.).  I hope you'll visit often and find something to accompany you on your own Lenten journey toward and through the cross and the grave.

God is Love! Spread the Word!
Let us proceed together in peace!


Anita Mathias said…
Thanks, Penny. As you might have realized, I am blogging through the Bible. It is a massive undertaking, and it's often not particularly profound, and there's the fear that no one is reading it.
Yesterday, though, we had lunch with a couple of friends, and one of them told me that she was helped in a decision by a blog post I wrote on the choices facing Abraham and Lot--sometime in January.
So, yes, it is good to add our voices to the stream of chatter out there. We never know when our thoughts might prove a blessing!
Thanks, Anita!