I wrestled with Lenten sacrifices this year. What to give up? What to take on? What is the purpose? Does God really care?
Before I married a Lutheran, I had not heard terms like Shrove Tuesday, Ash Wednesday, and Lent. Well, I might have heard them, but they carried no meaning.
Although we’ve attended a Shrove Tuesday supper since my husband and I married, last year was the first time I then followed through with a Lenten sacrifice.
I gave up coffee and fried foods. Although I don’t eat a lot of fried foods, I love them and well, coffee is an everyday companion of mine so both were significant to give up.
I stuck with my commitment and felt it was definitely a time of growing within myself. I found the Lenten season to be much more meaningful as I was reminded daily of Christ’s sacrifice on my behalf.
But this year, I couldn’t decide what to give up. I prayed about it and had lofty aspirations of incorporating a Daniel Fast, but I did not want to set myself up for failure. I thought about giving up coffee and fried foods again, but I just wasn’t feeling it.
I decided that unless I got clear direction, I would not do anything specific for this year.
Then, this Ash Wednesday morning, it came to me. “Daily Sacrifice.” Listening daily to the whispers of the Holy Spirit. Don’t eat that for now,” “do this,” or “go there.” My prayer is that my life will become totally directed by the promptings of the Spirit.
Is lent for us or for God? As with any ritual, I believe we can go through the motions of lent without it having much purpose or meaning, but I also know it can enrich and empower our faith. It can be for both us and God if it accomplishes the intended purpose of deepening our relationship with Him.
I am looking forward to experiencing the work of the Holy Spirit in my life this season and pray that being guided by his presence becomes an automatic response. I am thankful for the exposure to this practice that has caused me to become more reflective of the power of Easter in my life.
5 thoughts on “Does God care about lent?”
I’ve also wondered about these church calendar events (lent, advent, epiphany, etc.) over the years. Some years I do something, some years I don’t. I completely agree with your concluding statements. I’d like to establish more traditions and observances in connection to these holidays, especially with our children as they grow older, to help us remember and reflect on the real meaning of our celebrations.
Kendra, I have enjoyed these more now that our children are getting older. They can become meaningful teaching moments and create family togetherness in worship. But again, they are only meaningful if they are causing us to grow in our relationship with Christ instead if replacing it. My thoughts, anyway.
I found this link helpful http://cardiphonia.org/2013/02/12/practices-and-resources-for-observing-lent/
The only thing that Christ asks of us as Christians is, Baptism and Communion. It is very simple and straight forward. Mankind’s proclaimed “Religions have mucked up the message. It is our spirits and souls which God will require an accounting of in the final judgement.I wouldn’t feel lost or bad with the concerns over Ash Wednesday or any other religious pageantry.
I agree these observances can be nothing more than ritual to make us feel like we are “being good Christians.” For a long time I completely rejected ritual for that reason. As I have grown in my faith, I have found comfort and meaning in the rituals and believe they are beneficial to my faith experience as long as they don’t become my salvation.