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A discussion on Lent and the Notion of Fasting. Breakfast really did come from breaking a fast.
Give up the sun?
"Oh my Lord, He has given up (fill in blank) for Lent.
Well that is for sure the down side. Perhaps if it is something very noticeable we might say that. But not really. If someone is doing something and for whatever reason everyone knows it -- why? My favorite is smoking. Nowadays people should not really know that another person smokes cigarettes. It should be done in relative privacy in a place where only smokers belong and it should be done in a manner that there is no residue of smell. So if people know you gave it up well that is because you were obnoxious in the first place and simply correcting a wrong.
So in our first instance the people who simply get right are not giving something up for Lent. You guessed it because the second one is just like it. If people take notice of your drinking alcohol you really have an issue with it. If you stop drinking and people notice -- you have no business drinking. So again these examples are not about sacrifice in fasting but simply acting right in the first place. So neither of these examples work for lent.
I bet you see where this is going. Lent fasting is about sacrifice.
Vanity Fair does not fare to well!
Just a thought to go here.
Giving up unhealthy foods.
There is a man who gave up processed sugar for Lent. Turned out his doctor told him that if he did not give up processed sugars he would die of obesity combined with diabetes. The man looked much better after 3 weeks and we were amazed at his sacrifice. What a crock, that would be sacrificing for one's self and that don't count.
There was a housewife who gave up putting on makeup and adorning herself for Lent. And this sounded so noble. But it really translated into appearing disheveled and lack of proper hygiene and looking haggard and poorly dressed each day for her husband's return from work. Well I will leave that for the reader's own conclusion.
So we see that a real Lent sacrifice is not self centered.
Sacrifice requires something more intimate.
Some good verses to review.
But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed,
because they cannot repay you. You will be repaid at the resurrection of the just. [Luke 14:13 &14.]
And when thou pray, thou shall not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in
the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
But thou, when thou pray, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret…
[Matthew 6:6 & 7]
If any of you has a son or a sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will you not take
hold of it and lift it out? [Matthew 12:11] The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. [Mark 2:27.]
If you take the above versus and put them in context of Lent you begin to love for love's sake and not your own.
King of the fast for sure.
What not to do?
Mathew 6:16 “And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 17 But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18 that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
So the whole idea is focus.
Take the focus off of yourself and our self for a time so that we can focus not so much on things of this world but things of spirit and morality and love and kindness.
There are non-Christians that practice Lent. Why not. The notion is to clear the garbage by doing something that the absence of something else allows us to do. Clarification toward a notion bigger than the physical.
It would seem that an empiricist so called scientific person without spiritualism would nothing from this idea. Yet we have seen them. Total fasting with a minimum of food is an amazing thing to do. However if you are doing it so that you can experience it,,,, well you lost the battle before it began.
It would seem that we would normally be better off on doing something for Lent that is positive and in that doing give up something that can block our acceptance of love. For example: "I will not go to the gym this month and spend my money that I normally spend on smoothies on plants to plant with my spouse in the yard to make a more beautiful neighborhood and so my retiree neighbors can enjoy." And without any further ado or notice you do exercise at home alone.
There is just no better way to put a real Lent sacrifice than that.
Can you give up and shut up?
Will you sacrifice?
So where do we stand and how about all the social aspects.
If Lent is a Church deal then there is error. Rituals and Rites are awesome for this time of year from liturgy to candles to scripture. Lent is not out of the Bible except for folk who think that their church is on par with the Bible. And yes some folks really do think that what their church has decided is as valid as what Christ did and did not teach. They could be right. Others do not.
But Lent is a cool idea. And I for one like it. I would tell you what I am giving up but then it would ruin it. So let us be happy with our feelings, and if we feel compelled to join this honored and very long lasting tradition we should do it with gladness in our hearts and silence in our breath.
Here are some great things to give up during lent.