What will I give up (or take on) for Lent?
It is a common enough question Christians ask the week of Ash Wednesday: and not a bad thing to do. Will I, in the tradition of “self-denial”, give up something that I enjoy doing or (most likely) eating? Meat? Chocolate? Alcohol? Pizza (Kurt trembles)? Perhaps, going a bit further, I will use this Lenten tradition to give up something that would be in my best health interest (be it physical, mental, or physical) to cut back on, or give up completely.
Personally, I’ve never cared for the giving up of something for Lent. I’ve always tended towards embracing the other side: “doing” something for Lent. Some sort of outreach, for example. Beginning (or strengthening) an intentional spiritual practice of some form of prayer. A daily Lenten meditation. There are lots of possibilities to either “give up”, or “take on” for Lent: and I encourage you to consider such a practice.
However, Lent’s primary purpose is to prepare for Holy Week: our remembrance of the Lord’s passion and resurrection. To (re)order or lives around the words of Jesus in the Gospel of Mark:
“The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent, and believe in the good news.”
The things that we do (or don’t do) should move us towards the restoration of God’s vision for the world: peace, justice, hope, love, for the whole world.
What ever action we take, to give up or take on, should make us more aware of God’s presence and love in our own lives, and more able to share and work with our neighbors. Lent is a time to share a little more of the light that God has kindled in you.
Blessings to you this Lent.