Okay, this is not entirely true. I know about Lent. I’ve heard that literally translated it means “Spring”. As a Christian it’s hard not to “observe” it, but my level of participation has always been quite low. After all, (as I have often said) there’s a reason I’m Baptist. But as the days(and years) pass, I’ve slowly come to realize that I’m missing an opportunity here. Hopefully, it’s not an opportunity to to prove how sacrificial I can be (“I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full”) but to be drawn back to the one who made the ultimate sacrifice.
It’s silly how silly we humans can be. We know that God came to earth, suffered, was tempted, suffered some more, and finally died on the cross as one final and definitive proof of his love. We KNOW it. But I wonder how often we remember it. I don’t. Instead I tend to dwell on all the stuff I already feel like I’ve given up in this life in the supposed name of my God and forget to recognize that no amount of forbearance on my part would even register on God’s scale. So after pleas from my current pastor and former pastor that I should consider giving something up for Lent, I think I might.
I think one of the reasons I've been so slow to embrace this practice is that my past contact with those “observing” this aspect of Lent many times involved them “giving up” things that needed no giving up. Non-coffee drinkers giving up coffee, teetotalers giving up beer, vegetarians giving up meat, non-duffers giving up golf…so I thought, “What’s the point?” Well, hopefully I've found the point. I found something to give up. In doing so I pray it will cause me to remember. Remember Christ’s suffering outweighed my suffering. That his temptation outweighed my temptation, that his holiness, righteousness outweighs my feeble attempts at godliness and religion. That Jesus’ sacrifice outweighed any the world has ever known. And that God’s grace outlasts all of my silliness and folly.
I hope that the process of “giving up” will result in not only remembering the costs but the reward. That at the end of Lent, new life can be found. You know, the hope of Spring.