Wednesday, March 1, 2017


It's that time of year again: LENT!

I have long been a critic of Lent. Supposedly, Lent originally began as a way for Catholics to remind themselves of the value of repentance. Lent was a time to step back, self-reflect, and grieve over our past wrongs and moral failures. And after we've cried it out...we make a personal commitment to stop the behavior that caused us grief and live better.

Hallelujah! Nothing to be critical of there. We are all called to repentance. But...let's keep it real. So few Lenten seasons result in true repentance. In fact, it's not even really designed to do so:

Practically Speaking: We give something up for 46 interrupted days (there are 6 Sundays when you're FREE). At the end of these 46 days, the thing that we gave up returns.

Biblically Speaking: 

Since you died with Christ to the elemental spiritual forces of this world, why, as though you still belonged to the world, do you submit to its rules:“Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”? These rules, which have to do with things that are all destined to perish with use, are based on merely human commands and teachings. Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence. - Colossians 2:20-23

Lent can be a time of self-inflicted self-deprivation. And what's messed up about it is that it doesn't have the power to change you. Repentance is the beginning of transformation. And Lent, as it is currently celebrated, is not geared towards transformation! 

And I am. Trying to write in this blog (which I truly abandoned) for Lent. Why? 

Because I wanted to. 

Because I didn't need Lent to feel sorry. Most people who are planning to give up something are already sorry and are dealing with repentance and sorrow over sin in their personal spiritual journey. 

I know what Lent is "supposed" to be about, but why does it have to be that?  It does not necessarily have to be 40 days of transformation or some other lofty goal. Sometimes you just want to do...something. For God. To God. And let that be that. Transformation is the work of the Holy Spirit anyway: 

But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. - John 14:26

I think I've been cynical of Lent because I still didn't understand my job. My job is not to kickstart and manage my own salvation. If it was...then up chocolate is a poor start. But rather, we live in a time of grace where God is the author and finisher of our faith. So, since we live in a time of faith, where by faith our sacrifices are accepted (Hebrews 11:4), it doesn't matter what you give up, or what you start up for Lent. If it's done in faith, it's probably perfect. 

1 comment:

  1. Amen Amen
    I saw your Hallyu or Hallelujah blog and now this's like you're reading my mind!!
    I've have spent too many years trying to understand why people take Lent so non seriously...I mean, if this is the only time of year you're gonna "fast", then be serious about it.
    I just never understood, and I never asked why until last year.
    I think the current mindset regarding Lent is sooo skewed. I think that's the reason why I'm critical of it. My church does prayer and fasting... often. At the beginning of the year, for 21 days, when God tells them to fast, and throughout the year, typically when they are expecting from God (expecting anything, a sign, a word, answered prayers). Basically, the purpose is to do it with Intention.
    I don't know too much about Lent (now I know more after reading this blog), but it sounds like it's closely related to when Jesus fasted for 40 days and 40 nights, or even Moses spending time alone with God for 40 days on Mt Sinai, which is great. It's just, practicing Lent without intention (fasting without a purpose) just increases the urge to go back to the thing you are getting rid of for 40 days. So why are you practicing Lent? That's the question I want to ask those who practice Lent or also, those who fast without purpose.