Thursday, 18 February 2010
What Are You Giving Up For Lent?
Has anyone over the last few days asked you, "What are you giving up for Lent?" Well, as I suggested to two congregations yesterday during Ash Wednesday services, for Lutheran Christians Lent is not really about giving up chocolate, or wine, or cheese, milk, eggs and butter, or red meat, or television or blogging if it comes to that. We should eschew such a trivialising attitude to this season, as it really represents nothing more than our culture's non-comprehending and dim remembrance of a distant, pious past.
If fasting helps you cultivate a spirit of repentance and devotion in this season, then by all means fast. If abstaining from a non-essential activity in order to have more time to reflect on what Christ has done for you is a possibility for you (and who of us can say it isn't?), then by all means do so.
But guard against your acts of piety becoming the focus of your Lent.
Lent is a season for confessing our sin and seeking God's forgiveness earnestly.
It is, above all else, a season for returning to the grace of our Baptism, wherein we were united with Christ in His suffering, death, burial and resurrection for our salvation.
“ Now, therefore,” says the LORD:
“ Turn to Me with all your heart,
With fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.”
Rend your heart, and not your garments;
Return to the LORD your God,
For He is gracious and merciful,
Slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love... (Joel 2:12-13)
A Blessed Lent To All Visitors to the Old Manse.