Lent. Not every Christian observes it in the sense that they give up something, fast, or sacrifice for Lent. Should we though?
If we’re in agreement that Lent is an observation of the time Jesus was in the wilderness being tempted by Satan and the fast lasted for 40 days and 40 nights, what does that imply to us today? Well, some would tell you we need to duplicate this feat. I’m not sure about you, but I miss few meals. I could stand to miss several, let me tell ya… But, either way, true fasting for 40 days I’m not sure is possible today. So if we’re interested in biblical alignment, can we make an act of sacrifice as a reminder of what Jesus did while avoiding the temptations for such a long period of time? Is it appropriate or inappropriate, or better yet, biblical to participate in a Lent vow?
I’m not sure I have the answer to whether a vow of sacrifice is biblical or not. It may or may not be, as I’m unaware of scripture supporting or denying this. Rather, in the grand scheme of things I may try to pick something that not only can I give up, but also choose something that’ll be hard for me to do. If for 40 days I have a continual reminder of one’s own mortality that might be a nice service to God. What about the daily repentance of my sins? How about the reaching to the Heavens in daily prayer with the thoughts of all Jesus has done for me? Where is the harm in that?
I reckon I don’t need to run around all Ash Wednesday with an ash mark on my forehead to know death will come to me. I don’t need a sack cloth as a reminder that sin is uncomfortable. I have a really scratchy sweater my wife gave me that does that just fine. So not to pick on the Catholics in that regard, but I’m good with my reminder based primarily between the ears and within my heart.
All in all, I see lots of people start a Lent vow and break it within a few days. Me? I gave up solid foods one year and it was the toughest Lent I ever had. You’d be surprised how much weight I lost though… I’d never looked forward to Easter lunch so much in so long. This blog post is set to post on Wednesday the 10th, so I better choose this quickly since I’m composing this a few days prior.
Whether you make and carry out a Lent vow or not, I think we can agree the theology is sound. Now if we decided to live like that daily instead of 40 days a year I wonder what kind of world we’d be living in? I mean, after all, isn’t Lent really strict observation of Christian living? Maybe Lent should last all year…