Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Thoughts on Lent

I haven't practiced or given much thought to Lent since changing churches at the age of ten. Several years ago I was convicted when I glibly commented to a friend who bore the smudge of Ash Wednesday on her forehead "Oh, I'm not _____ (her denomination)." Afterwards I realized even if I didn't practice Lent myself, it could be an opportunity to talk in more detail about our faith.

Since then, I've had a curious interest into the origins and practice of Lent, and while I still don't observe it formally, I've been challenged personally to consider its benefits. One obvious benefit is taking time during the weeks before Easter to reflect on the cross of Christ. I usually try to read through all the Gospel accounts of Christ's last week on earth, ending with Romans chapter 6 on Easter Sunday.

This year I've been thinking about fasting, or rather, the absence of it in my own life. I am way too indulgent and naturally impulsive; the practice of fasting (done properly) forces one to focus on the sufferings of Christ and the victory we have in Him. One thing I do believe about fasting: it really should be a personal and private thing, not something we broadcast or announce what we're abstaining from, or I think we might nullify the whole purpose and miss out on the blessing.

I don't know where you readers are on the subject of Lent. I'd love to hear your experiences if you do observe it. If you currently do not, consider this excellent article posted on


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