Lent – It’s Not About the Chocolate

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I don’t often write two posts to the blog in a day but one was topical and this one is seasonal.  Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent.  Lent is a forty day season of reflection and preparation as we approach Holy Week and Easter, marking Jesus’ death and resurrection. It is a time of repentance, of considering Christ’s suffering, and of Christ’s call for us to take up our own crosses to follow him.  Pretty powerful stuff, eh?

Our Roman Catholic brothers and sisters have uplifted this season for many generations.  We Protestants, in pockets, have embraced the practice as well.  But my question is how we have taken such a spiritually significant topic and devolved it to, “I’m giving up chocolate/television/burritos” for Lent? Do we really think giving up something we enjoy eating/watching/doing is the key to being faithful to God?

Peter, James, John, and the rest of the disciples heard Jesus, in what they must have considered the peak of his ministry, stating that he had to go to Jerusalem and die.  It shook them to the core.  The Transfiguration helped turn this around.  But following Jesus required faith – strong faith.  Jesus’ mission was significant but dangerous.  Are we willing to follow him as the disciples decided to (even knowing his path)?

This season needs to be a time less of considering what personal habits would help us to give up (or would challenge us like we were trying to maximize the amount of weight we could bench press) and think through what is causing us to be hesitant to be more faithful to Christ.  I don’t think this needs to be public (quite the contrary).

But, make no mistake, Lent is important.  And now is the season to enter into it.

What do you think?

Until next time,

Tom

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