Friday, February 19, 2010
This is only my second year really observing the season of Lent. I grew up Baptist and as you know Lent is not a Baptist tradition so I had never really experienced Lent growing up. However, as I read about and experience Lent the more I appreciate it.
Last year I gave up coffee for 40 days. Just coffee. When a very close friend of mine found out I was observing Lent he responded with, “I didn’t know you were Catholic?” I think this is a common understanding of the “tradition”. There have been several encounters with other Christians who have never even heard of Lent.
I have heard some say that it is a pointless “tradition” and there is no real meaning or reason behind the observance. “People just do it because they think they are suppose to and after the 40 days they return to living the same as they did before.” This may be true for some people, but I have found the season to be very helpful and insightful. So I thought I would share what I am doing for Lent and why I have chosen to do so.
My wife and I are observing Lent this year together. Like most things dealing with our faith I find it is better when experienced with others.
We have chosen to give up several things this year.
First TV. We have committed to watching no TV for the next 40 days. We gave this up in hopes to replace it with something else such as talking with one another, reading, studying, writing, or praying. This will also be something we hope carries over after the 40 days are up. We hope to watch less TV and replace it with more productive things.
We also chose to not eat out at all. We chose this obviously to save money. Our biggest spending problems come from eating out too much. This is something else we hope to continue.
Probably the most difficult thing that we are giving up is all beverages except tap water. This includes coffee, which for anyone who knows me understands that I am rarely seen without a coffee mug in my hand. The first day I experienced one of the worst headaches of my life. We are giving up beverages to support an organization called Blood Water Mission.” The idea is to keep up with the money you would normally spend on drinks and donate that amount to bring clean drinking water to the people of Uganda. You can find their website here. http://40days.bloodwatermission.com/
Not only do these things bring about more productive ways of living, but also for me it is a constant reminder of the sacrificial beauty of the death and resurrection of the Messiah. Though very small in comparison to what Christ went through, during this time we experience sacrifice and at the same time longing for ALL things to be made new through His resurrection.