Monday, March 10, 2014

A Different Kind of Lent

My church tradition does not celebrate Lent.
In fact, I'm not sure growing up it was even acknowledged, if it was I certainly missed it.

The first time I'd really heard of Ash Wednesday and Lent was when I worked at a Catholic preschool/after school care program and when the students came over after school, I asked what had happened to their foreheads.
(I wish I was kidding, but I'm not)
That was when Lent was explained to me.


And who can blame them really, seriously I asked "do  you know you have a little something on  your forehead". . .I was young-I'm blaming my ignorance on that.

There still isn't a huge Baptist contingency when it comes to observing Lent, but over the last few years my church has really begun exploring this idea.
And with that, we have as a family as well.

Trying to explain Lent to my very Baptist children the other night. . .well, let's just say I knew how those kiddos felt who'd try to enlighten me all those years ago (grin).

During a traditional Lenten session a person would 'give something up'.

Chocolate, soda/sugar, facebook/social media, shopping and don't forget meat on Friday-fish fry anyone?!.

And when the desire for those things comes to you, you then  use that time for prayer and reflection on Christ and His sacrifice for you.

It's actually quite lovely and worthy.

Like with most things those, our flesh can creep in as soon as we let our guard down, and it becomes about us and our pride about what  'we are giving up'.
Then the discouragement that comes when we fail.
Then the bitterness and 'why even try at all'.

And I could see that a bit in my kids, or the possibility of it for sure.

So, we have chosen as a family to approach Lent from perhaps a different way-maybe  you'd like to join us.

We've chosen to cling to the promise of abundance in Jesus brings.

John 10:10b

    I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. 
Instead of 'giving up' something, we are choosing to give abundantly, just like Jesus did for us!

Sometimes the giving looks like the giving of kindness when perhaps it's not deserved.
Gentle responses, when a harsh one would feel so so much better.
And, then monetarily as well. Who can we give ABUNDANTLY too?

We've picked our project-some sweet little children in Ghana Africa, who we want to know that Jesus loves them so much, but not only does He love them, he wants them to have enough food to eat and to be able to go to school for the whole year.

Now, I don't tell you that for anything more than so you can know what I'm talking about.

Here's the real kicker-oh how I love irony.

In giving abundantly -whether it's in emotions or generosity-we do have to deny ourselves.

Just like Jesus denied himself the comfort of Heaven to sacrifice himself for us, so we could live abundantly.

Oh the Sweet Sweet Love of Jesus.

No matter what you chose to call what you're doing for Lent, or whether it's in your church tradition or not, I hope you'll take some much needed time over the next 30+ days between now and Easter to reflect on the sacrifice and gift of the cross that Jesus gave us.

It's a difficult thing to look at in my minds eye, but OH! Such a beautiful thing as well.

And when I see it there, and all that was done for me on the that old rugged cross, how -HOW- could I do anything else than give abundantly too?



Anonymous said...

As a practicing Catholic, I appreciate you trying to learn our traditions.
And, don't worry we asked the what's on your forehead question a lot, as long as you're not mocking, we enjoy answering your questions.
God Bless,

Angie said...

Thanks for the kind words!

Post a Comment