I know many people give things up for Lent and thats a very personal choice for them but its not something I have ever done. I can see the benefits that would come from giving up something wordly and using that time and energy to merely focus on God instead, however, the problem I have with Lent is why do we wait for Ash Wednesday to give up the things that are getting in the way of having pure hearts before the Lord. We all allow things to get in the way of our relationship with God and to compete with our time everyday so why does it have to be today opposed to any other Wednesday in the entire year that we decide to remove that distraction?? Why do we feel like we can push through each day of Lent fasting from something but yet Easter comes and its like a huge party because we can once again completely indulge in the thing we gave up initially. If the thing we gave up for Lent was something we identified as needing to be removed from our lives during any period of time to allow ourselves more time to focus on Christ then shouldn't we give it up for good and not just 40 days??? Maybe I dont understand the true meaning of Lent or the details of how its observed but simply speaking I feel like we obviously know before Lent that this "thing" is getting in the way of our relationship with God which is why we choose to give it up so why not do it before then? A very popular worship song thats been around for years talks about this concept and the words say "We bow our hearts,we bend our knees oh Spirit come make us humble.We turn our eyes, from evil things oh Lord we cast down our idols. So give us clean hands and give us pure hearts, let us not lift our souls to another. Oh give us clean hands and give us pure hearts, let us not lift our souls to another."
I also have a hard time with the idea that we are a busy society that constantly finds time to add "one" more thing in our schedules everyday but yet we dont have room for God instead we have to get rid of something to squeeze Him in??? I think we could all learn something from this idea because it seems to me especially as our daughter is getting older that its easier to add another activity but yet somehow we dont have time for God or time to spend in His word each day? I am going to be completely honest and real but whenever I feel like I don't have time for God because our lives are too busy its almost, ok its ALWAYS because my priorities are out of whack and I am not intentionally choosing to leave God out of my life but I am consciencly choosing to stuff it with the other things. Psalm 51:10 "Create in me a clean heart, O God, renew a loyal spirit within me."All of this just goes to say that as we think about Ash Wednesday today and this season of Lent be open to what God is trying to reveal to you. Pray for eyes to see the things in your life that are interferring and causing you to be consumed be negativity therefore not fully allowing you to worship the Lord
Facts About Lent
By Dr. Richard P. Bucher
- Lent Is a 40 day Christian festival beginning Ash Wednesday and concluding on Easter (Sundays are not counted)
- The word "Lent" comes from the old Anglo-Saxon word lengten, which means "springtime," named so for the time of the year in which it occurs.
- What we now call Lent was originally a period of fasting and study for catechumens who were to be baptized on the Saturday before Easter. The 40 day fast was said by Athanasius in 339 AD to be celebrated the world over. The 40 day fast of Jesus in the wilderness was responsible for the number 40 being chosen.
- The purpose of this extended fast was to practice self-denial and humility. This was to prepare oneself for receiving God's grace and forgiveness in baptism, given on Easter Saturday or Easter Sunday.
- The liturgical color for Lent is purple, the color of repentance and sorrow for sin.
- Lent prepares us for the observance of Jesus Christ's suffering, death, and resurrection for us. It is a season of repentance and sorrow for sin. Lent is a time of self-examination in light of the Ten Commandments; it is a time of giving up of sinful behavior, a time of personal housecleaning. It is a time of commitment to the new life of Christ begun in baptism. It is a time of disciplined study of Scripture and a time of growing in faith. In recent years Lent has become a time to remember our baptisms. It is a time to reflect on the impact of baptism on our lives, and to ask ourselves how we are doing. Most of all, it is a time of renewal and new beginnings, as we through faith apply the complete forgiveness won by Christ's death to our lives. Lent heightens our awareness that we desperately need Jesus Christ.
- As someone has said: "Lent is the Church's springtime. Out of the darkness of sin's winter emerges a people the Church--reborn through baptism into their Lord's death and resurrection from the grave."
Lent is an opportunity not an obligation. It is not commanded by our Lord, nor is it even mentioned in the Bible. Those Christians who observe it do so because they find it a helpful opportunity for repentance and renewal, for the strengthening of their faith. Christians are free to observe or not observe Lent.