Monday, March 3, 2014

Leaning into Lent

The season of preparation for Easter begins this week with Ash Wednesday on March 5.  I don't always dive into Lent, but I see the importance of spiritual disciplines more clearly now than ever.  This is a good occasion to open myself up to all that God wants to show me, about himself and about myself.  I'm praying for God to show me how to celebrate.  What will I give up for Lent?

Traditionally, Christians have celebrated 40 days prior to Easter in a season known as Lent.  The term "lent" comes from the German word for "long," as the days become longer in the spring.  The 40-day period does not include Sundays, so the Lenten season is actually 46 days long, including Easter Sunday.

At Ash Wednesday services, some believers have ashes smeared onto their foreheads in the shape of a cross.  The ashes represent repentance, harkening back to biblical repentance "in sackcloth and ashes." 

There were intervals of fasting in the early Lenten practices.  Today as part of the Lenten season, believers will often choose to sacrifice something, whether it is food or something else.  The sacrifice reminds us of the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross for our sins, and our surrender to him opens us to the work of God in our lives.

Some may choose to forgo eating on every Friday (or other day) during Lent. 

Here are a few other suggestions of things you may consider giving up for lent:
  • Social media
  • Dessert
  • Television
  • Chocolate
  • Soda
  • Alcohol
  • Fast food
  • Shopping
  • Snack foods
  • Coffee
  • Bread
  • Texting
  • Movies
The point is to do something with your body that draws you closer to Jesus.  You may start a habit you keep forever!