Saturday, February 21, 2009


Lent is coming. I am puzzled as to why so many Protestant denominations skip over Lent or give it only a cursory treatment through some color changes, flowers and maybe a reminder to prepare for Easter. The monastic and Catholic tradition seems more fitting, giving us time to move from winter to spring, death to life, sacrifice to celebration. Otherwise, it happens so quickly -- 3 days and we are done. Given the importance of Easter to our faith, why do we shortchange the preparation? My suspicion is that we have lost the patience and discipline (or the desire to cultivate either).

The typical preparations for Lent today include prayer, denying oneself something: food, festivities, things and performing acts of penance or charity--all good ideas anytime of the year, we suspect.

Mike and I consciously are working out how to make Lent real for the girls--we've introduced the concept, which they seem to have grasped pretty quickly, particularly the giving up. However, the spirit of the idea might be a little challenging. MeiLin declared that she thought she would give up buying stuff for herself, instead buying stuff for her sister.

For me, I've decided this year I need to focus on others at a practical level. As a result, I'm resolved to not only resist buying unnecessary items (do I really need that pair of jeans on sale or new lipstick?) while also recycling/passing on one item every day that I simply don't use or don't need. I want to find a home for these items. I'll let you know how it goes.

Begin here with me, God.

1 comment:

Dr. Rick said...

I agree that Evangelical Protestants have lost something vital to the central theme of our faith, the cross, by not observing Lent.

I think I will observe Lent this year. I will fast from all sweets. I suppose I should give up Diet Soft Drinks, but better to start small and succeed, right?

On the other side of the coin -- giving up something being the denial side -- the enrichment side, I am committing to prayer and Bible study everyday of Lent.

I think part of the key to understanding the path the Evangelical church has gone down with regard to Lent is a general misunderstanding of Lent as only a ritualistic denial, when in fact it is neither corporate ritual nor all denial.

Lent, at least to me, is individualistic denial and enrichment. Yes, we traditionally give up something, as Christ gave up his life upon the cross, but we also embrace something, prayer, Bible study, doing of good, that helps to understand the reality of Christ living and working through us.