Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Season of Lent – Lawrence

(The following post was first published in March 2009 as a meditation on my website: www.judithlawrence.ca )

The church season of Lent has begun. During this time, many people, even those who are not practising Christians, “give something up for Lent”, i.e. they fast. It is a ritual planted in a Christian society many years ago.

One year, when I was in my twenties, I remember that I stopped taking sugar in my coffee for the period of Lent. At first, I found that coffee without sugar didn’t suit my taste at all but, by the end of the six weeks, my taste buds had adjusted to unsweetened coffee and though, at that time, it gave me no spiritual advantage to go without sugar, it did cut down on the amount of calories I was taking in and so helped my physical health.

I recall that I took every opportunity to tell people that I was giving up sugar in my coffee for Lent. It seemed to me to be some mark of goodness or holiness that I was depriving myself in this way; boasting about it, of course, was not a mark of sanctity at all!

“You are fasting to please yourselves…What good is fasting when you keep on fighting and quarreling?” Isaiah 58: 3, 4 (New Living Translation).
Through the words of Isaiah, God goes on to tell the people the kind of fasting he wants us to perform. It includes sharing our food with the hungry, giving shelter to the homeless, giving clothes to those who need them, and not hiding from our relatives who need our help.

Lent reminds us to examine our actions; fasting reminds us to look at how we are living our lives—fasting is not an end in itself.

St. Paul tells us in his letter to the Galatians, “What counts is whether we have been transformed into a new creation.” Galatians 6: 15 NLT.

During this time of Lent, let us take the opportunity to examine where our behaviour could be changed to conform to Christ’s teaching, so that we might be transformed into a new creation in Jesus Christ, our Lord.


Dolores Ayotte said...

I enjoyed your article! I especially like how God tells the people about fasting through the words of Isaiah. It seems that fasting is so much more about sharing and giving rather than about "giving up" something like we used to do in our younger years. I find this concept refreshing. Thanks for sharing your Lenten thoughts.

Judith Lawrence said...

Thanks Dolores. I appreciate that you took the time to write a comment. It means a lot to know that people are reading our words here on this blog. Yes, I agree with you, Isaiah has powerful words for us.

Peter Black said...

Judith, your Lenten post so clearly brings out the timeless relevance of the biblical fast as clarified by Isaiah so long ago; and Delores' comment commends it well. Thank you.

Judith Lawrence said...

Thanks Peter.

Popular Posts