Difficulty Level: Easy
- Clothe the Naked: Donate clothes in your house to homelessness service or shelter.
- Feed the Hungry: Donate to a local food shelter or volunteer to serve or prepare meals
- Quench the Thirst: Donate to an organization like CharityWater, which gives 100% of its funds directly to the cause.
- Give Them Shelter: Donate time or money to a local or national homelessness service.
- Visit the Needy: Donate time or money to visit the sick and needy in your nearby hospitals or homes. Consider cooking a meal for someone in your community who is recovering from an illness or surgery, or donate to an organization like Child’s Play.
Difficulty Level: Medium
- Clothe the Naked: Go shopping for a new outfit, and price it out. Say goodbye to that new fashion-forward piece and donate that $62, $87, $120 (or whatever the cost) to a local shelter. Advocate to your legislator to renew funds to local organizations that clothe and shelter people.
- Feed the Hungry: Fast from going out to eat; instead bring your lunch or make dinner at home. Take the money you save or the items left over in your pantry ($50-$200) from these 40 days and donate it to a local food shelter. During the 40 days, encourage your community to participate in giving time and donations and spread awareness of local, national and world hunger.
- Quench the Thirst: Fast from expensive drinks; make coffee at home, bring in your own water or reduce your soda intake. Take the money you save and donate to an organization whose mission is to improve drinking water or combat the effects of drought. During the 40 days, encourage your community to participate in giving time and donations and spread awareness of local, national and world drought and water sanitation issues.
- Give Them Shelter: Open your home to a friend or family member in need. Do you have a friend that needs a place to crash while he looks for a new job? Do you have a spare bedroom you could give to a missionary back from leave? There are more people in need of a room than you first realize. Advocate to your legislator to renew funds to local organizations that clothe and shelter people.
- Visit the Needy: Write a letter every day to a soldier or a prisioner, volunteer to be a docent at a hospital, to deliver Meals on Wheels, tutor or mentor a child, or create quality visits to a retirement center.
Difficulty Level: Hard
- Clothe the Naked: Take a community member on a shopping spree. Do you have a child in your classroom who needs new clothes? Do you have a jobless friend who needs an outfit for an interview?
- Feed the Hungry: Fast for 40 days, eating only one or two meals a day. Every day you fast, put $5-$10 in a jar. At the end of the month, donate the $200-$500 to a local food shelter or an international organization combating world hunger, like OxFam.
- Quench the Thirst: Fast from all drinks. Give a prayer for those dying of unsanitary water and thirst every time you refill your water bottle. Use the costs saved from not buying milk, juices, tea or coffee and donate to an organization that fights for water purity and water access. Additionally, consider fund raising a well for CharityWater, and gather donations from friends and family every day during the Lenten season.
- Give Them Shelter: Consider becoming a foster parent (long term or short term); open spare bedrooms to friends, coworkers, community members and family in need; consider (carefully!) if you could open your home to the homeless.
- Visit the Needy: Go to a homeless shelter and listen to their stories, round up community members to purchase tents for homeless and hand them out, ask a homeless person to join you for dinner and watch the film ‘The Human Experience‘ and set out on a life-changing mission orientated trip.
Difficulty Level: End Boss
Live the life of Jesus instead of the life of complacency and society.
Lent is the forty day period of sacrifice leading up to Easter. The practices of Lent have varied widely other the centuries, ranging from vigorous fasting to forgoing consumer luxuries. The best description of lent I found is this: “The goal of every Christian is to leave Lent a stronger and more vital person of faith than when we entered.“1
While pondering how to celebrate Christ’s sacrifices, God’s instructions and my personal life, I came upon a wholly new conclusion. Why not celebrate by living like a radical person, who proclaims Truth and justice, houses the homeless, clothes the needy and cares for the poor?
I immediately thought of Matthew 25.
‘For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in;naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’
“Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink?And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You?When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’
“The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’”
A lot of the suggestions for Lent involve how you can affect local change. Jesus reached out to those around him and touched them personally. There is a lot of good being done by organizations like Kiva and Fair Trade that make an equally as great impact on the world, but don’t involve us personally touching the lives around us. For this Lenten season, I ask of you to see the invisible, touch the untouchable, and change your own community!
Joyous, life-changing, world-changing, radical Lenten season to everyone!