Thursday, February 14, 2013

Giving Up Something for Lent?

...Give us this day, our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses... -- Matthew 6:11-12 (KJV)

Lent started officially yesterday.  It is a common practice for people to think of something to give up for the six weeks until Easter.  It is done as a part of the historic spiritual disciplines of prayer, fasting, and self-denial.  There is a certain frivolous aspect to the things people choose to give up.  For instance, take a look at this one-minute video on Facebook: First World Problems.

If we think we are associating ourselves with something sacrificial and thereby have insight into the sacrifice Christ made for us - think some more.

If we think we are earning something by giving up chocolate or overeating without putting more time into prayer, meditation, devotion, and service - think again.

If we come to the realization that ALL we have is not ours, that more than 95% of what we do have or want is not necessary then we are beginning to see the beginning of the spiritual journey.

Jesus Christ, son of the God of Love, spoke to us and listed the three things that we each need when he taught us to pray the prayer many of us recite every time we go to church:
  1. The time we have today.
  2. Bread enough for today.
  3. Forgiveness.
If we have these three everything else is superfluous and COULD be given up.  As Jesus said to the Rich Young Ruler (Matthew 19:16-23), following Christ was most important over everything else the man had or could do.

If giving up something for Lent helps you in a symbolic way to be reminded that everything belongs to God, then give it up.  But, what is really required of you is to follow.  Spend the hours of today that you have been given being kind and serving Christ.  Enjoy simple meals to sustain your body; forgive, forgive, forgive.

Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.  Thy kingdom come, they will be done on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us this day, our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.  Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.  For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever.  Amen.

1 comment:

  1. And I just read in the course I'm taking on The Challenge of Global Poverty that 865 million live below a poverty line of what would equivalently be 99 cents a day in the U.S. Maybe an insightful Lenten exercise would be how many days can WE live spending less than 99 cents (housing excluded)?