Thursday, March 17, 2011
Participation in Lent
Traditionally, one gives something up for the forty days of Lent, to sacrifice or go without in recognition of Christ's ultimate sacrifice.
Historically this meant meat, dairy, sugar, or for some days, food altogether. (On a related note, a good movie about a modern practice of Lent is Chocolat).
In years past, I've given up dessert, Facebook and television.
This year, however, as I thought about what I was going to give up, I had a hard time thinking of anything that would be both significant and achievable. My life these days is pretty quiet and simple, with not a lot of extraneous activity.
So I decided that this year, instead of giving something up, I would add something. To pick a quality that Christ exemplified and try to model that better in my day to day life.
You may ask, and what is it that you're going to do? And I will respond that you're going to be disappointed with my answer.
I'm not going to say.
It may seem like that's the easy way out, not telling anyone, because then there is no one to hold me accountable. But I'm accountable only to God and my conscience anyway. And besides that, I'm abiding by Christ's command regarding prayer:
"And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you."
My Lenten offering is not something "to be seen by men" but meant rather to be a quiet offering to God. (Well, not so quiet, since I'm blathering on about it here...)