[NB: listen to the sermon by clicking here)
What are you giving up for Lent? That’s the question of the day, isn’t it? What you’re giving up to share in Jesus’ 40 day desert fast?
That’s where the whole “giving something up” thing comes from. Folks read the story in today’s gospel about Jesus going into the desert to fast for 40 days and thought that it might be a good way for us to find ourselves in his story by fasting for the 40 days of Lent.
But, of course, not everyone’s going to book 6 weeks off work to go sit on a rock in the woods and pray. People aren’t going to go without creature comforts, much less bare necessities for a month and a half. In fact, if you did I’m sure your family would start to worry about your neural functioning.
So, Christians, through the centuries, did what we did to most church rituals that made us look crazy or caused discomfort: we house-trained it. At first it was no food on Fridays and Wednesdays. Then it morphed into no MEAT on Fridays and Wednesdays. But then came the Wednesday night chicken wing special and folks said, well, maybe we’ll just have meat-free Fridays. Now...?
Now...people give up chocolate, coffee, beer, something fairly minor, just to get in the spirit of Lent rather than create some real discomfort in their lives.
But recently, the wheel has turned in the other direction. Some folks now...(whole thing here)