Saturday, February 25, 2017
Thoughts on observing Lent
I used to think only Catholics observed Lent, and then somewhere along life's journey I discovered it is not just a Catholic thing. I'll admit right up front that I am a Lent skeptic. I have always looked at it as something unnecessary and shallow. From my experience of being around people who observe it, Lent goes like this: you give up something you really like - such as chocolate or coffee - for 40 days. You spend those 40 days telling everyone you meet that you are giving up that thing for Lent. You also spend those 40 days counting down the days until you can have chocolate or coffee, and the second Lent is over, you go gorge yourself on that thing you gave up for 40 days. OK, even I'll admit that is an awfully jaded view of Lent, but I am just being honest and authentic about it.....
What if instead of giving up something for 40 days that we will run back to when Lent is over, we give up something forever? Radical thought. And what if you kept it between God and yourself instead of telling everyone around you what you are giving up?
What if we gave up Starbucks and did something better with all the money we pay for overpriced coffee?
What if we give up watching TV shows like Game of Thrones that we know aren't good for us and which hinder us spiritually?
What if we gave up the bitterness and anger we harbor?
What if we have up the mask we wear, and be authentic and honest?
What if we spent less time on things that waste our time, such as social media?
What if we spent less time on us, and more on others?
I am not sure the Bible supports giving up something for 40 days, only to go back to it (other than fasting). It definitely supports giving up some things for good.
It is very unpopular anymore to suggest that there is anything a Christian should not do, places a Christian should not go, and things a Christian should not say. It is not Biblical at all to teach or believe that Christians have cart blanche when it comes to living. So maybe Lent would be a great time to examine ourselves, and stop doing things that we would be better off not doing as a Christian. That is what would truly please God, not giving up chocolate or coffee for 40 days.
**And I am sure there are people who aren't shallow and brag about it..... my experience has not been with those people though.