I have always done or given up something because "that is the right thing to do". In the past I have given up salt, and if you have any understanding of my salt-a-holic family, you might see how big of a deal that is. In recent years Bill and I have together given up sweets. Its actually usually harder for Bill to do that it is for me. Of couse we get our fill the day (or 2) before it starts with our fair share of Paczi's and love to share them with co-workers and clients
(oops...how did one go missing...???)
But in all seriousness, why in the world am I giving up something for Lent?
Now I am not about to go into theological discourse. And if I wanted to, I could cite lots of biblical texts and early Christian teaching, but what I want to say is why "I" celebrate Lent. And some thinking I have been doing and some changes I want to make.
I "give up" things at Lent because it makes me feel like a good person, a good Christian.Which is so sad and not enough, I know. I also think that when I crave a sweet, it makes me think of "why else" I am suppsoed to be giving up a sweet. And it prompts me to think about God. Goodness. Holiness. It reminds me Easter is coming. And truly it just makes me think about God more. I mean, sometimes, I do think "God, I just want a cupcake!!!" . Sometimes, positive, sometimes negative thoughts towards God. But I think that it what God desires, is communication. AND it certainly helps that while I am out of the habit of eating sweets for 6 weeks, I am then out of the habit of craving them, which is jsut plain good for my diet and my body. So , mostly selfish reasons.
Recently I have been thinking a little bit differently. This year, I "give up" things for Lent because, in a sense, I have everything I could ever want or need. I have access to every candy bar, cupcake and sweet roll I could ever desire. But not everyone does. Actually, when you look at the world at large, I think I am in the uper 1-2% of wealth, and I do not consider myself wealthy in any shape or form. At least not compared to the Jones' next door here in America. I think real love and Godliness is serving those who can do nothing to ever repay you. There are more passages in scripture about serving the poor, needy, widow, broken and downtrodden than almost any other topic. I want to keep my mind aware of how good I have it and then "what do I do about it"
So that is my other half of my Lenten practice this year. Bill has alrady always been awesome about monthly donations to local food banks/pantries. I love that he does it, but have never been activly invovled in doing it or even reminding him or helping him to do it. I now want to. And for Lent, I want to up the ante. We will not only be "giving up" something for Lent, but "Doing" something for others.
Each week of Lent we will be donating a full paper bag of groceries to a local food bank/pantry.
Here is our first one.