We are now 6 days into the Christian season of Lent. Coming down to us through the Greek “Tessarakoste,” meaning “fortieth,” it signifies the time of Christ’s 40 days of fasting in the wilderness. For Christians, it is supposed to be a time preparation through prayer, repentance, increased giving, and self-denial for the coming of Resurrection Sunday. Following the debauchery of what Mardi Gras (French for Fat Tuesday) has become, a time of fasting and sacrifice seems quite appropriate to prepare for the remembrance of Christ’s Passion. In the late Middle Ages the word Lent (meaning Spring) replaced the longer “fortieth” recollection, melding it with the heralding of approaching Spring.
Today, nominal Christians make token gestures at giving up something, usually trivial, to signify their sacrifice for Lent. Chocolate comes to mind. We certainly would not seriously sacrifice anything that would draw us closer to Christ; let alone further from this world’s pleasures.
Here’s a suggestion— Why not give up God for Lent?!?
If you are a casual Christian, one who maybe attends church at Christmas and/or Easter, the occasional wedding or mandatory funeral, this suggestion is easily grasped. For you, the Christian life is an addendum to the one you live out on this earth. Your faith has little to do with your life. You practice a convenient-faith, one that fits your needs and your priorities. What the God of the Universe offers you seems to come at too high a cost. When He says to you, “Give me everything you have; and I will give you everything I have.” you wonder if it is a fair trade.
Now, if you are a genuine Christian, with a deep faith, rooted in Christian community and the Holy Scriptures, this will prove most difficult. It will be veritably impossible. For you could no more think of turning your back on your Savior than serving another god. This suggestion should be most repugnant to you, if not near blasphemous. For true followers of Christ, the idea of sacrifice is already imbedded as a core value. Lent should be no different than any other time of the year.
So, if you are not a genuine follower of Christ, why not give up God for Lent?!? Frankly, why not give up on God altogether? It will affect your life neither one way nor another. OR…, you could use this Lenten Season to begin a new faith in God and humbly seek His favor. Sounds odd, doesn’t it? That we should seek the forgiveness and favor of One beyond ourselves.
What do you do to celebrate Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection?
For what it’s worth,