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“Do I have to give up something for Lent?”

If our faith is focused on God’s grace, then what is the deal with these restrictive requirements?

When I was younger, it was common for us to be challenged to “give up something for Lent.” If I was feeling more pious, then perhaps I would choose something like candy or hitting my brothers. If I was trying to work the system, I might try to convince my parents that I had “given up eating vegetables for Lent.” Honestly though, I’ve had a difficult time with the idea of “giving something up for Lent.” The times when the experience has been most meaningful have been when I tried to focus on the meaning…on the purpose. For me, fasting, or denying myself in some way, is most beneficial when I allow the experience to create a hunger…a desire…inside of me for God.

A quote that I recently encountered, provides much more articulate ways to describe some of my experiences. In her book, 40 Days of Decrease: A Different Kind of Hunger. A Different Kind of Fast, Alicia Britt Chole says, "God seems more interested in what we are becoming than what we are giving up. Faith, in general, is less about the sacrifice of stuff and more about the surrender of our souls. Lent, in kind, is less about well-mannered denials and more about thinning our lives in order to thicken our communion with God. Decrease is Holy only when its destination is love." My hope during the Lenten season is to decrease so that my relationship with God might increase. With intentionality, I can decrease my focus on entertainment or social media to give more time for prayer, study, family (things that really matter). Perhaps I can decrease my tendency to indulge in a junk food, by allowing God to truly satisfy my deeper desires.

In what ways will you observe the season of Lent? If you haven’t already, I encourage you to plan to join us TODAY for our Ash Wednesday Soup Supper and Service. It will be a great time to gather and mindfully enter into the season as a community. Additionally, I encourage you to join in the discipline of devotional reading. Whether you plan to attend our weekly Lenten Church Chats   (Wednesdays at noon starting February 22), you can read along with our devotional, Local Pilgrim.

My prayer is that we may each deepen our relationship with God and encounter Christ in new ways this season.

Blessings to you and I hope to see you soon.     

Very truly,

Pastor Adam

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