Can’t face Lent without the charm of chocolate?
Give up bad things instead, suggests our Director of Ordinands and Vocations, Derek Walmsley.
“I once wrote an article about Lent for our parish newsletter with the headline “Give Up..!” It suggested that we might want to consider an alternative way to observe Lent,” says Derek.
Instead of giving up chocolate, booze, television, or even Facebook, why not give up some of the negative things we do to other people?
We are encouraged to love our neighbour, so why not give up gossip, hurtful comments, resentment and unforgiveness?
Now I don’t want to criticise the way many Christians celebrate Lent – there is real value in self-discipline and using it to come closer to God.
If you want to do without something for six weeks and find it helpful, then please go ahead. But, whether we give up luxuries or give up bad attitudes, let’s think what the purpose might be.
There is an interesting section in Colossians that helps us here:
Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.
Colossians 2: 16-17 (NIV)
The purpose of any spiritual discipline should not be to “get” something, even a really good thing.
The real purpose is to “get” God in Christ. Jesus himself put it this way: “Seek first the Kingdom of God and what He requires of you – and then all these things will be added to you.”
Those words come from Matthew 6 and that would make a great chapter to read for reflection throughout Lent. Don’t give up!”