February 17, 2010

Rethinking Lent: An Experience In Listening to God

Many are mislead by the common misconception that Lent is a Catholic thing. While it did originate in the Catholic Church it is more of a God thing than a Catholic thing. Lent is a time to focus on your spiritual journey. It involves spiritual practices that Christians have participated in for the past 2,000 years: Prayer, Bible Reading, Fasting and Spending quiet time with our Lord and Savior. Throughout my life I have fasted from something of significance during the Lent season. TV, Soda, Pizza, Meat, Chocolate, Reading are a few of the things that I have sacrificed in the 40 days before Good Friday and Easter Sunday. However I want to take time this year to go deeper. I don't want Good Friday and Easter Sunday to just be days that I have to go to church and that I spend a little time reflecting about Christ. I want it to be bigger than that. These two days are two of the most significant days in world history. This year I am going to be intentional to the purpose of lent, as a time of preparation and reflection.

There is a church back home that has created a journal and they are focusing their Wednesday evening services on Lent. It is called Kensington Community Church. Phil and I stumbled upon their website and it turns out that our good friends here in Lafayette's parents attend that church. Phil and I have printed out the journal and are ready to do the readings each night, reflect and pray with one another. There are 2 other couples that are participating in this as well. I think it will be great to keep one another accountable and grow closer to God together. If you want to download the journal you can find it HERE.

Phil has given up soda and I am giving up biting my nails and chocolate. So if you can help us stay accountable this week that would be great! The process of giving up something may seem silly to many of you. People have been asking why I am giving something up at all. Fasting is a spiritual practice that is found throughout the bible. It is not condusive to my lifestyle to go without food for 40 days. Instead I am giving up something small that will allow me to be a better person and that will allow me to think about the sacrifice and pray about it multiple times a day. I also don't understand the, "Well, why give up something. You could just add something Positive instead". Why add positive to something that already is positive. For a Christian, isn't sacrifice always a positive? If what Jesus did for us isn't the ultimate positive example, then I've got the wrong religion. We shouldn't be looking for the easy way out. There is no easy way when it comes to sin. Adding something positive in my life would be simple and quite frankily I could do it without thinking. I already spend 3 nights a week in bible study with other Christians, I spend several hours a week helping out a family in need with free babysitting, I attend church sometimes twice on Sundays and serve on multiple committees at my church. Adding something positive in my life would just be a nother check to the list that I wouldn't think twice about. I would rather that this time of Lent allow me to focus more on my personal relationship with God and therefore fasting is the option for me.

If you have interest in reading more about Lent I would suggest visiting this blog. Karen does a great job of opening up and explaining her thoughts on the season of Lent. She also has some great suggestions for how to help young children participate and understand the meaning of Lent.

You can find daily readings from the Book of the Common Prayer HERE.


Karen E. said...

Hi, and thanks for the mention! Many blessings to you and your husband in this Lenten season.

danae said...

i love that you stick up for lent here!! i agree with everything you wrote, but i have a different way of looking at it maybe. although i agree that sacrifice needs to be made and "just adding something positive" doesn't qualify, i think that when we sacrifice something, we have to replace it with something positive. i think the list you wrote - bible reading, prayer, fasting, etc - is a great place to start. a preacher once explained it as being a 40-day spring cleaning, where i purge my life of bad habits and fill my life with good ones instead. sometimes the "bad" habit can just be something that distracts me from God or something that will make me acutely aware of relying on Him instead. sometimes it really is a bad habit. either way, we do indeed need to include fasting (from many things, as you say) in our christian walk. blessings to you in this beautiful spiritual spring cleaning season, and if i see you biting your nails, i'll bop your hand! happy ash wednesday!

danae said...

ps - the journal is awesome! thanks!