Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday the first day of Lent. It is about this time on Shrove Tuesday (Pancake Day to you and me) that I start to panic that I should be giving something up for Lent, it seems the done thing to do.
I have never been entirely sure about the idea of giving up something for Lent, it has always seemed a bit of a misnomer – my understanding is that Lent came about as a way of us sharing in Christ’s suffering in the run up to Easter, the faithful would mimic the 40 days in the desert after Christ’s Baptism, and in some way partake in his struggles and his sacrifice. BUT Surely the whole point of Christ’s sacrifice was so that we do not need to share in his suffering. He suffered so we wouldn’t have to.
Many Churches have for a number of years encouraged people to take something on for Lent rather than give something up. This is a better approach I am sure, but it still feels a little weird.
Yet, perhaps Lent is useful as a time of year that helps us re-evaluate the priority things do have in our lives. If giving up chocolate is about dieting or getting thinner I am not sure it is the right thing to do. If it is because you are aware that Chocolate has an unhealthy place in your priories then it IS a good thing to do for Lent, especially if you then spend time with God as an ALTERNATIVE to eating the choccies.
My list of possible things this year include:
Giving up Coffee (& tea?)
Doing the Tearfund Carbon Fast
Taking up more regular quiet time
Giving up needless religiosity…
At the moments I am leaning more toward giving up coffee, although in actual fact I may well give up nothing. What exactly would be my reasons for giving up? In what way would it help me in my walk with God?