Tomorrow is the beginning of Lent and according to that fount of all knowledge, Wikipedia, here’s how Lent is described…
Lent in the Christian tradition, is the period of the liturgical year leading up to Easter. Lent is a time of sacrifice for Jesus. The traditional purpose of Lent is the preparation of the believer — through prayer, penitence, almsgiving and self-denial — for the annual commemoration during Holy Week of the Death and Resurrection of Jesus, which recalls the events linked to the Passion of Christ and culminates in Easter, the celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Conventionally, it is described as being forty days long, though different denominations calculate the forty days differently. The forty days represent the time that, according to the Bible, Jesus spent in the desert before the beginning of his public ministry, where he endured temptation by Satan.
This practice was virtually universal in Christendom until the Protestant Reformation. Some Protestant churches do not observe Lent, but many, such as Lutherans, Methodists, Presbyterians, and Anglicans do.
(Taken from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lent)
At our church, we call it “The Season Of The Cross”, but no matter what you call it, it’s (as Wikipedia says) “the period … leading up to Easter” (I’m going to call it Lent from now on, as I think the other is too long and should probably be called “The Season of Preparing for The Cross”, but I digress).
Now. a lot of people observe Lent by saying “What can I give up?” But I really don’t think that’s what God wants! To me, this smacks of the “salvation by works”, where if I’m a good boy, and stop doing bad things, then God will like me more. So people give up chocolate, TV, Facebook, sex, meat and a myriad of things. [For me, I always give up brussel sprouts and creamed asparagas. 🙂 ]
I think what God really wants us to do is DO things, not stop doing things. This should be a time when we spend more time in doing things for others, reaching out, reading, writing, praying. And, oh, by the way, we should keep doing it even after Easter!!!
So tonight, as you give your one last “Hurrah!” by pigging out on pancakes and sausage and syrup and other sweets (yeah, right!), think about the things you’re going to DO for Christ, not what you’re going to give up.
By the way, for me, I’ve decided that I’m going to signup to have the GSCC Lenten Devotionals emailed to me daily (signup at http://devotional.gscc.ca) and try to read through each one and see what God is saying to me each morning. I’m also going to spend time thinking about what God wants me to do from here on out vis-a-vis the church, my family, Compassion, and our community.
Maybe you should too!