|Love me some the Mardi Gras Indians!|
But some people still do view Lent as a time of self-denial and reflection on the suffering of Christ. The church I attend is decidedly “low church,” meaning not given to ceremony, not observant of much of the liturgical calendar – except the biggies like Advent, Christmas and Easter. But even though I’m not in a churchy church, I am fond of Lent. I often give up sugar and/or alcohol, but I have to admit that my motives are always mixed.
|In England they have pancake races –|
this one was in York.
You see, along about February, I’m usually feeling kind of sluggish - weighed down by the woolen clothing and the excess poundage of the holidays. So... giving up sugar seems like an all-around good idea around now. I’m not saying this is right, I’m just saying, I have stunningly mixed motives. I freely admit it, and have discussed it with God. I don’t know what He thinks about it exactly because He has yet to speak audibly to me, but I always feel I should lay it out there for Him. There’s no use pretending I’m all pious and self-sacrificing, because I’m not. And He knows anyway, right?
Grace and I were laughing about the possibility that the observation of self-imposed dietary restrictions during Lent became a thing when the church fathers noticed their robes were getting a little tight. (“Does this cassock make my butt look big?”) The funny thing is, sometimes when I give up sweets for Lent, it has the opposite of the desired effect, as the following weeks I eat even more sweets to make up for it! I wonder if this happened to the church fathers as well...?!
|Does my butt look big |
in this cassock?
This year, Bill told me that I need to give up 20 things for Lent. He’s working on a list right now - here’s the start of it: french fries, singing, video games, farting... I don’t play that many video games, so that’s not a problem. I certainly would give up farting if that were physically possible... And as for singing, I know a lot of great songs and I really can’t get through any portion of my day without joyfully belting one out. I sing in the shower, in the car, in the kitchen... you know, the same places I like green eggs and ham. I, personally, don’t think it’s a reasonable sacrifice. It’s like trying to give up breathing. No thanks.
Which leaves french fries. Sacrificing this indulgence seems suitably painful, so that’s my plan. I wonder, though... if I give them up, am I setting myself up for a major french fry binge in the weeks following Easter? (I should say that this doesn’t seem to be a problem for me when I give up alcohol... mostly because I know that if I were to succumb to a wine binge, the resulting headache would be unbearable.)
Last year, I didn’t give up anything. I, instead, tried a “prayer blitz” in which I tried to say extra prayers for my husband. The result? Immeasurable. Literally. I couldn’t measure it. First, I am not sure what result I was trying to get. Second, how is such a thing measured? Not sure. In fact, from what I have observed of God’s ways of moving, He could still be working on it!
|Can I really give up fries? |
Do tater tots count as fries?
Wikipedia says the purpose of Lent is “the penitential preparation of the believer.” I’m not exactly sure how not having sugar or saying extra prayers fits into this schematic, but I like the idea of participating with Christians all over the world in the recognition of what Christ did for us. I mean, He gave up EVERYTHING to come down here and hang with us. He was a king on a throne with angels all around Him, the Son of God and all that... to come down here and be a human being who needed to eat, sleep, and attend to other bodily functions... He had to work and endure pain and tedium, interact with others – others who must have seemed to Him to be unbearably thick... And I’m not even going to mention the incredible pain and humiliation He went through on the cross for our sorry asses.
So... enduring six weeks without deep-fried, heavily-salted potato strips is the least I can do, right?