My Very First Lent

Well, I’m 37 and I’m finally celebrating (is that the right word?) Lent. I grew up in a non-liturgical church where things like Lent were viewed with suspicion. Things like Lent were either dead orthodoxy or salvation by works. My only memories of Lent were as a punch line. “Sorry Mom, I gave up lima beans for Lent.” I never realized that celebrating Christmas and Easter were a part of the same church calendar that included Epiphany, Ash Wednesday and Lent. However, owing in a large part to what I’ve learned about the church year through my studies at the Robert E. Webber Institute for Worship Studies I’ve decided to observe Lent.

I’m giving up desserts. I thought I should start out small since it is my first Lent. It isn’t much, but the fact that its going to go on for several weeks… maybe it isn’t so small after all. Anyway, I can report that after one day of Lent (today being Ash Wednesday) I can say that I’m surviving without my normal intake of sugar. I actually had a moment of regret after dinner tonight when my sons were having their ice cream. However, it was during that moment that I recalled why I I’m doing this.

Lent is a time to identify with the death of Christ. By fasting we are crucifying the desires of the flesh that wage war against us. By fasting we are liberated from the flesh and practice the discipline required to overcome sin.

And just in case any of you see me eating a cookie on Sunday… according to Bob Webber in “Ancient Future Time“, Sunday is a feast day, the day of the resurrection and a day that transcends time. Therefore I’ll be indulging in desserts on Sunday, and thanking God for victory that He won – looking ahead to Easter.

I hope that you’ll consider observing Lent this year and journeying with Christ toward the cross, learning obedience through suffering just as He did. Heb. 5:8