Thursday, February 17, 2005

I still don't know what I'm giving up...

I still don’t know what I’m giving up for Lent. And that’s ok. Maybe I won’t give up anything. I feel tired. Maybe I could offer my exhaustion to God. Maybe that’s enough. I’m reminded that “For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings. (Hosea 6:6)”

God is more interested in our hearts, our minds, our souls, than our external observances. Not that external observances are necessarily bad. External observances point us to the deeper message of Christ. Rituals are powerful. But they are not essential to our faith (“adiaphora” to use the Reformation term).

Maybe I’ll spend more time in prayer, study, and visitation. Parts of my job that draw me closer to God. Hearing faith stories of parishioners always refreshes me. Reading deeply of the grand story of our salvation always stirs me.

Praying I find more difficult. But maybe I need to push through the pain and simply do it and see where it leads me.


Gabriel Sanchez said...

I always find that a good rule of thumb for what to give up for Lent is something you *know* you would really miss being without. On the other hand, if you are at all like me, you'll probably realize quickly how easy it is to replace one loss with a new excess. For that reason alone, I am inclined to take a broader approach and curtail a number of my usual "pleasure" activities so as to not allow myself to over indulge as a means of compensation. So for example, if I decree that I won't watch/buy DVDs or movies for Lent, I'm sure I'll just wind up putting that time into listening to music or purchasing records.

I'm not sure if that helps at all. :)

Terry Finley said...

Question, Please: "Where does one read about Lent or sacrificing for lent in the New Testament?"

Thanks for your blog.

I invite you to read my blog and to study the Bible with me.

Terry Finley

Kevin said...


Thanks for your suggestions and insight. I would *miss* quite a few things if I gave them up, but I'm wondering if that's not the point with Lent. How does giving up beer help us identify with Christ's suffering? I'm wondering if giving up beer and giving the $14.99 I would spend on a case to the homeless shelter, food bank, etc, better reflect the self-giving love of Jesus. I dunno.

But I figure that this year I'm not going to beat myself up over not having something to give up; and simply live in the freedom we have in Christ.


The NT doesn't mention it. It;s a later, historical development to help us engage the salvation story that is found in scripture, more personally.

I'll check out your blog. By "study the bible with me" do you mean in partnership or are you offering to be my teacher?