So, Lent starts Wednesday.
(We’ve been through this before.)
- “Lent” is a season of the church; it starts 40 days before Easter.
- Historically, this time was set aside for people to prepare join (or, in many cases, rejoin) the church, which they would do on Easter Sunday.
- To prepare for that really, really joyous day (membership/baptism or restoration), people would take the season of Lent to reflect on the areas of their lives that are in some way “sideways” or somehow out of whack.
- To address these areas (or in many cases, to help identify them in the first place), it’s helpful to quiet down, to give up some parts of our lives (called “fasting”). Sometimes these things are luxuries (chocolate was always popular in my house growing up), but sometimes we give up—or at least significantly limit—every day parts of our lives too:
- Another way to “surrender” during Lent is to just drastically reduce the amount of food we eat. The idea is to “waken” our spiritual senses by heightening our hunger (literal or otherwise). Sundays are considered “feast days”, meaning you can have the thing or activity on that day, but during the week, you should strive to keep your fast.
This isn’t about a performance. In fact, the most effect Lenten practices are kept secret.
It’s about shaking (or shocking?) ourselves out of our comfortable, anesthesized existence to face (and maybe begin to deal with) things that are wrecking our lives. We fast because most of the time these things are hidden from our face, and we need something to wake us up.
Like being hungry.
Or not watching TV (including Netflix, etc.).
A Few Suggestions:
- Try it. Prayerfully consider giving something for 40 days and just see what happens.
- Share it, but not with everyone. Talk some members of your small community, but don’t necessarily broadcast it on Facebook. “Public Fasting” can feed our egos just as easily as a selfie can.
- Feast. On Sundays, reengage as an act of worship and celebration.
- Journal it. Note what God reveals to you during this time. (Note: this does not necessarily mean “blog it” (see above).
May your Lenten journey be rich.