Lent started yesterday, with Ash Wednesday. Having grown up in the Independent Christian Church since the age of three, Lent isn’t something I have always practiced. In college I used to joke I was giving up Lent for Lent, or giving up lint for Lent, or drinking (which I didn’t do). It just wasn’t something we talked about.
My first year of college, I attended a Lutheran church. I went with my boyfriend, because his parents always took us out for a very nice lunch if we attended church. Hey, when the cafeteria is closed on Sundays, you’ll do almost anything for a meal! My first year of grad school, I joined a church that had broken off from an Episcopalian church. My first year of seminary I attended a Vineyard church. All three of those churches mentioned Lent and encouraged people to participate… but I didn’t. The closest I got was the Christian Church that carried me throughout the rest of Seminary. We did a 40 day prayer/fast during Lent. We were supposed to fast every Thursday and then the Thursday, Friday & Saturday before Easter. It was routinely Thursday night that I remembered I was supposed to be fasting.
This year, I have heard a lot about Lent. First, I read a lot of Catholic Infertility blogs, and I joined 82 other women in a “Lenten Prayer Buddies” exchange. I have been given the name, blog info and contact info of another woman, and I have committed to praying for her, daily, during Lent. Likewise, someone is praying for me (and if it’s you, could you pray I figure this out, please?).
Second, I have a friend who is doing a modified Daniel fast for Lent with her husband. Oh, and a friend who has given up all deep fried foods.
Third, I have another friend who has issued a Lenten Challenge. She and her family are giving up television.
Then, I have read on Facebook and on other blogs about not giving something up for Lent, but rather adding something to each day: more prayer, more Bible reading, an act of kindness, etc.
All this to say… I have no idea what I want to do. And my grand plan of thinking it all through Tuesday night was wrecked by illness and praying that I wouldn’t die. I thought about giving up sweet tea – I am seriously addicted. Then I thought maybe I should give up sugar all together. Which would have started about 5:00 on Tuesday, but ginger ale is about the only thing I can stomach right now.
I have no clue. Maybe today inspiration will strike. But I probably ought to discuss it with my husband first, because he’ll be the one living with my sacrifice. (and the side effects of said sacrifice)
What are you doing for Lent, if anything?
A professor of mine wrote a thought-provoking post about Lent. Let me summarize:
A) What can I give up that even remotely resembles the sacrifice my Lord made for me?
B) What does giving up said thing do for anyone but me? Will I become kinder? Gentler? More loving? If so, shouldn’t my aim be to just become kinder, gentler, more loving?
C) If giving up said thing makes me a better person, why should I confine it to 40 days?
D) Am I wasting an opportunity to help others in the name of “self-sacrifice”? In other words, could I be benefitting other during the Lenten season instead of giving up something that benefits only me?
Definitely things to chew on…