It is Lent. And, other than knowing people sometimes give stuff up for Lent, I've never really looked into what the season of Lent is all about. A few weeks ago a fleeting thought brought the upcoming Lenten season to mind. My next thought was, "what should I give up?" My thought after that was, "should I really give something up if I don't really understand the reason for the practice?"
I'm a fairly intelligent person. It was easy enough to deduce the basic idea behind Lent. It lasts 40 days. Jesus went to the desert and was tempted and fasted for 40 days. Ta da. But I wanted to REALLY get what I was participating in. It is too easy to blindly participate in just about everything, including religious tradition. I am tired of blindly participating. If I am part of something I want to know why.
We took a break from the current series at church last week and I learned enough about the Lenten season to feel like I could participate and tell someone why I was participating in this season of fasting. I even went to the Ash Wednesday service last week, something I'd never done. It was something I didn't understand and had never participated in. Having had my questions about Lent answered I figured I would go and find out more about why everyone left the services with black crosses smudged onto their foreheads.
Here is what I know thus far: I do not often sit and consider my sinful nature. I do not often think about just how far from God I am without the grace and sacrifice of Jesus to reconcile me to God. But I have decided that it is a very good thing to be told, "remember you are dust and to dust you shall return." Just as it is good to be told, "go forth and be faithful unto Christ."