It's lenten season once again, and I think it's one of the most misunderstood times of year in the "Christian calendar" if you will. I'm no lent expert, but some things have always bothered me about this time of year, and I just want to talk about them a little (you know, now that I blog what I want ;)
1. Lenten menus at restaurants
-The Catholic practice of giving up meat for Lent causes restaurants to go crazy with new menu items only offered this time of year and/or specials that make ordering seafood menu items a great deal for your wallet. As a pescetarian (vegetarian that eats seafood), I actually get excited about lent for this reason. So I feel that often times, more is being gained in "giving up meat" (new dishes to try and a smaller check) rather than using the sacrifice to remember what Christ did for us at the end of those 40 days. It hardly makes giving up meat noticeable, must less an opportunity to submit to Christ and remember that He is all we need.
2. Giving up chocolate, etc just to make Lent a 40 day weight loss plan
-Making lent about self-improvement is just that: making lent about ourselves. It's something we do out of our sin and selfishness, which is so ironic to me when I just think lent should be a special time of focus on Christ's sacrifice, and in fact the least focus upon ourselves. It's funny how we're always able to turn even the act of "giving up something for lent" about gaining something for ourselves, when really it's always been about Him.
-I keep trying to come up with a #3 just so I didn't make a numbered list with only 2 items, but it feels forced so I'll stop and close here. I'm not meaning to point blame with my post; I wanted to share these because I personally have struggled with items 1 & 2 every year that lent comes around since at least 3rd grade, and maybe others are trying to figure it out too. I don't have it figured out by any means, but if I poke some holes and get some hearts in on what I'm trying to say here, maybe lent
will be a little more meaningful this year.
Oh man, I just thought of something I could have written for #3 haha: the openly complaining about what you're giving up. Just think about that one a little on your own.
Anyway, I'll leave you with this sweet song that fills my heart each time I hear it. First because it holds so many truths, second because it was played in our wedding during prayer time and those first few notes bring memories flooding back, and third because it reminds me of the lenten season.
<I cannot for the life of me figure out how to embed the song I want to play here, so for now I'll just add the lyrics. The song is "How Deep the Father's Love for Us" by Philips, Craig, and Dean. Get it on iTunes or here's a link on YouTube if you want to hear it!>
"How deep the Father's love for us,
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure
How great the pain of searing loss,
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the chosen One,
Bring many sons to glory
Behold the Man upon a cross,
My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed I hear my mocking voice,
Call out among the scoffers
Call out among the scoffers
It was my sin that left Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished
I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection
Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom"
(during the prayer I mentioned above)