Thursday, February 7, 2008
Lent. For those of you Baptist-ish type people like me, I don't mean the stuff that collects in your husband's (or your own) belly button.
Lent is the time between Ash Wednesday, which was yesterday, and Easter.
I did not grow up in a Liturgical type church at all. I knew of lent. Heard about people giving stuff up, but didn't really know much more about it.
We recently spent several months attending an Anglican church, though, and they are Liturgical. They follow the church calendar and we happend to attend during the Easter Season last year.
I went to Ash Wednesday where the pastor explained lent. He put ashes on my forehead in the shape of a cross, looked me in the eye and said, "From dust you came; to dust you shall return." Whoa. That was sobering. I mean, we all know we are going to die, but to have it spoken to you like that was a very different experience.
And that brings us to Lent. Lent, at least in the church I went to, (Catholics may see it differently, I don't know), is about spending time being aware of our imortality. Being aware of our sinful nature. Not in a condemning way of feeling shame -- for if we have accepted Christ, we are forgiven fully. But in the sense that we dwell on how great our need for Him is. How completely we rely on Him for life and salvation.
Also, we die to ourselves just a little bit. That's what the giving up of something is about. It isn't an act to earn favor with God or get Brownie points. It's simply to learn how to say no to our flesh. Put it in it's place a bit.
I've only been to one Ash Wednesday service, and I'm remembering the best I can what the pastor said. If I neglected anything, my friend Will can correct me because he just went again yesterday to the same church. And if your church does it differently, or finds different meaning in it, I'd like to know. I like to discuss these things.
Anyway, here is a list of thirteen things that a person could give up for Lent. You only need chose one, not thirteen. If you have other ideas, let me know!
4. Sugar -- notice how I started out with food? We are a food oriented culture and we all struggle with it.
5. One thing on your calendar that keeps you too busy
6. TV - or even just your favorite program
7. The computer
9. A luxury like pedicures or massages, if you have any luxuries
10. An hours sleep -- get up and spend the time in prayer
11. Laziness - I am going to not go to bed any night without the dishes done
13. Eating out
Click here to read more Thursday Thirteens or to join in the fun!