Giving it up for Lent?!

Home » Minister's Musings » Giving it up for Lent?!
lent2011

 

Are you given up anything for Lent this year? Sugar in your tea or cream cakes for example?

In this period of Lent, our thoughts and reflections turn towards the 40 days that Jesus spent in the wilderness where he was tempted. We also look towards the events of the passion that we recall in Holy Week.

So as we remember the gruesomeness of Jesus' passion and the hardships, trials and tribulations of the desert, isn't it a bit tokenistic and simplistic to give up chocolate?

The immediate answer of course is yes, which is why many people now sign up to do something positive, such as supporting Christian Aid's "Count your blessings", All We Can's "All together for justice" or the "40 Acts challenge — doing Lent generously".

Let us not though be too hasty or too judgmental about giving up our favourite brand of chocolate at this time of year, for it is symbolic of something much more important.

I remember a particularly popular chorus that I sang when I was about 14 and a member of a local Crusaders group.

It began, "If any man would follow, if any man would follow, if any many would follow Jesus, let him deny himself, and let him take up his cross........."

I was reminded of this because of the word deny. In the age in which we live, where there is a craving for immediate gratification and an expectation that nobody should have to wait for anything — the notion of self-denial is an anathema.

So giving up something for Lent is a symbolic reminder that self-denial is part and parcel of our pilgrimage and journey of faith.

We recall these words from our Methodist Covenant service;
"Christ has many services to be done: some are easy, others are difficult;
some bring honour, others bring reproach; some are suitable to our natural inclinations and material interests, others are contrary to both; in some we may please Christ and please ourselves; in others we cannot please Christ except by denying ourselves. Yet the power to do all these things is given to us in Christ, who strengthens us
."

Giving up something for Lent is a reminder of a truth and daily reality that is far bigger and more encompassing than a bar of confectionary. It is a reminder that as we seek to be faithful in our discipleship we may well be called upon to deny ourselves at a much deeper level and an acknowledgement that we are prepared and willing for that to happen.

Of course, there is nothing to stop us from participating in both, by giving something up and making a difference, as we count our blessings, act together for justice and do Lent generously.

With Love and God Bless

Keith

popular recent storiesAlso in the news

easter, cross, sky
WMC: Sun 17 Feb 8:00am

Ash Wednesday 6th March.To mark this special and Holy day, there will be two Circuit services — both will include the administration of ashes as well as Holy Communion.The morning service will be at Milton Methodist Church at 11:00am and the evening one at Didcot Methodist Church at 7:30pmA leaflet listing all the various events, services, study groups and devotional meetings that will be...

KnittedWantage
WMC: Sat 16 Feb 3:59pm

Wednesday Fellowship welcomed Julie Davies to the group on 13 February when she brought many samples of the knitting she has done depicting some of the buildings in the Market Place and surrounding area. It was great to see these craft works close-up. To see the different stitches used and to marvel at her attention to detail. It was also interesting to see how some buildings had changed since...

daffodils, spring, flowers
WMC: Fri 15 Feb 7:00pm

From the Manse........There are signs of new life all around us, the days are lengthening, snowdrops, crocuses, and daffodils are coming in to flower and the birds are singing. Spring is on its way, but not here yet, it is definitely coming although we will have to wait a bit longer before we can fully enjoy it.With Spring not officially arriving until 20th March, we find ourselves living...