What are you giving up for Lent? Anything? Decided to forgo the Lenten “fast” this year?
I don’t blame you.
Last year I simply didn’t have the imagination to give anything up. I couldn’t be bothered. Nothing “felt” right. Plus, it all seemed so contrived. How does giving up (say) chocolate for a few weeks help us to identify with Christ’s suffering? Doesn’t that, somehow, belittle what Jesus went through?
This year, though, I know what I’m giving up: everything that is making me unhealthy. I can’t help but notice this expansive epigastrium expatiating my belt buckle. I went from a size 32 waist to a 36 during the 2+ years I’ve been here in Lethbridge. My young supple body is now a blob of unsightly flab. I guess I’ll have to give up my dream of being an underwear model.
My clothes don’t fit properly, and I’m darn sure not going to buy new ones.
Vanity, the preacher says, all is vanity.
He’s right. I am vain. I like to look good. I don’t like spare tire parked in my bay window.
But perhaps more to the point, how can I be overweight when so many children are starving to death? How can I proclaim a gospel of life and salvation while being so trapped by the world’s destructive pleasures? How can I live to preach at my grandchildrens’ ordinations if I keep choking back chicken wings and sloshing back beer?
I don’t want to wake up at 50 dead of a heart attack (yeah, you read that correctly).
St. Paul says that the body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. If that’s true, shouldn’t I keep God’s temple in at least as good a shape as I do my kitchen or living room (don’t ask about my office)?
So my Lenten fast is prompted by a hodge-podge of competing motivations. Just like everything else in life.
It looks like I’m going to be reacquainted with my good friends called vegetables, and clean the clothes off of the treadmill in my basement.
But not tonight. Tonight is about pancakes and grease rods, er, I mean sausages. Yum.