How I plan to spend Lent this year.
We have recently begun the season of Lent. The season of Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, celebrated this year on February 25 and continues through Good Friday. It is 40 days, excluding Sundays, of focus and preparation in the early church to leading individuals to the point of baptism and church membership on Easter Sunday. It is also a time when tradition has come to encourage individuals to “give something up”.
Originally the idea was to give up something and focus that attention or commitment on becoming closer to God. Sounds like a good idea however in recent memory; it has been of time of giving something up for whatever reason. In the past, I have heard people giving up food items (pop and chocolate are among the favorites) to giving up their favorite TV show. Why? Well, “Lent is when we give something up”, I’m told. When you press them as to the reason why you give something up, most people can’t tell you.
So once again this year, I will join the many who will give up something. And even though I don’t eat properly, it’s not a food item I’m giving up. Even though I have some bizarre television habits (according to some), I’m not changing those habits either.
This year, I am giving up things that really matter and things that are truly coming in between me and God. I am giving up lack of my forgiveness for my brothers and sisters, especially those who hurt me continuously. I am giving up prayerlessness, even though most would think I pray regularly. I am giving up my lack of communication with God by reading and studying the scriptures even more. I am giving up prejudging people because of their political persuasion, their habits that are offensive to me, their status in society, their sexual orientation, their IQ, their marital status, the car they drive, the house they live in, the color of their skin, their gender, etc. I must do this because God calls me to make a difference in my world. In order to do that, I must first make a difference in myself. I will attempt to clothe the naked. I will attempt to visit those in prison. I will comfort the comfortless. In the name of Jesus, I will hug the unhuggable, love the unlovely. Maybe this year, I will see a difference in my personal and spiritual life.
"Take heed that you do not make fasting to consist only in abstinence from meats. True fasting is to refrain from vice. Shred to pieces all your unjust contracts. Pardon your neighbors. Forgive them their trespasses."
- St Basil the Great