Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A Confession for Lent

Confession: I've never participated in Lent. Right about now I'm wondering how many of you gasped? Or is this not unusual for a modern day Christ-follower?

The truth is...after seeing lots of posts on Facebook about what people were giving up for Lent (more about this later) , I googled it to learn more about this mysterious holiday. {More gasps?}

As a child I had many Catholic friends who observed Lent, but I didn't know what that meant and I believed it did not pertain to me as I was an Evangelical Christian. I wonder now...why didn't our pastor preach on this? Why have I not learned about this "time of preparation" in the churches I have attended since my childhood? I'm surprised, really, because I have attended some wonderful churches and have heard some amazing sermons from very godly men of faith. Is this not a topic approached in most Evangelical churches? Should I know the answers to these questions?

I thought about the posts I read on Facebook regarding Lent and wondered what I would give up if I were to observe it. I wondered...Does it count if it's something you wouldn't really miss? Was this "fasting" supposed to be of great sacrifice? I wondered what the motivation was behind so many of my friends participating in this Holy tradition. Why would I do it?

I took another look at what I had found online. Lent is a time of sacrifice for Jesus. The traditional purpose of Lent is the preparation of the believer — through prayer, repentance, almsgiving and self-denial — for the annual commemoration during Holy Week of the Death and Resurrection of Jesus, which recalls the events linked to the Passion of Christ and culminates in Easter, the celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

These powerful, moving words played in my head as I prepared dinner. The Holy Spirit was already working on me. He used the mail - of all things - to drive it home. I opened a package that had just arrived from some dear friends. They sent us this book:

A 40 day devotion/prayer book. A book for Lent. I knew instantly what it was I would give up...something of great sacrifice...and I knew I would begin tonight reading this book.

For Lent I am giving up Facebook. It's a great sacrifice because it's the one way I stay connected with distant friends and family. Facebook is great for that, but its also a time-stealer. There are many times when I sit down to Facebook and become painfully aware of the time I am putting into these "connections" while at the same time neglecting more important things. I've limited myself in many ways, but I have not ever taken a break from it.

With the time I will be saving through my Facebook fast, I will pour into daily communion with God. Praising...learning...listening...discerning...being. I hope when/if I return to Facebook in 40 days that you won't recognize me. I hope I look more like Christ...with a heart more like His...and a mind that is His.


Anonymous said...

Love it Cristina! I have to admit that I've grown up in church too and I've never really observed Lent! You inspire me to look into it more also!!! Thanks for this, Lisa Ruppert

Derika said...

Thanks Cristina for the thought behind it. I took had many of the same thoughts about it over the last few days. I appreciate the time and effort you put into the history behind it, and for sharing it with us.

Kelly said...

This is a brave choice, my friend.
And for writing about it on your blog and sending emails to us is nothing less than courageous. We are to be in this world but not of it. You are other worldly, Cristina. And for those of us who benefit from seeing you "face to face" and not on a social network, we all see first hand the impact Christ has on your life.
It really is true that people watch your actions more than listening to the words you speak. Facebook really limits us to bearing witness to another's life and how they live it out.
What strength you possess, what courage you have and how genuinely proud you should be of yourself for giving this up to become even more like Christ. What a witness.......

Tom Eckert said...

Cristina, I was excited to read your blog this morning. Thanks so much for sharing this very personal event in your life. I started participating in Lent when we attended First Pres. downtown C/S. It is always full of rich blessing and spiritual renewal. I pray that you are blessed thru this first time observence of such a wonderful soul cleansing event. I look forward to our chat, yet to come this week! :) Where has the week gone?!! Love you so much and miss you more than I can say.


Lorie said...

Honestly, I was a little surprised you hadn't heard about giving up something for lent. While it is much more a Catholic tradition many of my friends, family and I will make a sacrifice for Lent. The last couple of years it has been caffeine. This year it is new crafting supplies. I am totally going to check out that looks great!

John, Kisti, Maren & Silas Felps said...

Love it! I've been "celebrating" Lent since I was a Sr. in College. It's a precious time of sacrifice, and really considering what Jesus sacrificed for me. Let's discuss this the next time we get together. :)