Wednesday, February 14, 2007

"Giving Up" or "Taking Up" for Lent?

So here’s a thought….

Lent begins on Ash Wednesday – next week (Feb. 21)! Lent started out as a period of preparation for baptism for new Christians, 40 days (not counting Sundays) of fasting and examination of life, in order to get ready for the “new birth.” In time, the rest of the church joined new believers in the practice, as a way for each Christian to examine him- or herself to get ready to walk with Jesus to the Cross, and to join Him in the great celebration of Life conquering Death at Easter.

Lent has often been about “giving up” something – either in a good way, such as giving up TV or chocolate in order to examine how much something like that has a hold on our lives, or in a bad say, such as giving up TV or chocolate in order to impress God (or others) with how holy we are. “Giving up something” can be a positive, growing experience, a way to make space in our lives to hear God.

Another way to observe Lent has been to “take up” a new “others-oriented” discipline that will lead to a more positive life and a life that is more devoted to God’s purposes. And in this light, we have a new electronic offering: a web site called “Cool People Care” with a daily idea for a good discipline. See the web site at:

They will send you a daily email if you sign up for it, or you can just visit the site yourself if it appeals to you.

Some of the ideas are a little more “political” than others…take them or leave them! But I like the notion of daily reminders to take on a new discipline in Lent, and some very good thought-provokers about ways I could be changing my daily journey to bring “shalom” to my part of the world.

Because we are all infected with sin, whether we give up or take up, we will probably experience both the joy of God's work in our lives, and the shame of discovering new ways of being selfish within our hearts.... Either way, we are better off for having opened up a new part of our lives to the work of God within us. It's easier not to try, I admit. But consider this your wake-up call (and mine as well) to take a chance on God, who loves us and has great plans for making us more like Jesus, more like his image within us! If we don't try, do we run the risk of being more like...the sofa?

Please do consider joining us at Trinity for an Ash Wednesday service at 7 p.m. (Feb. 21). May God bless your Lenten journey!