Growing up in a Baptist tradition, the Lenten season was no emphasized.  We were supposed to be deprived all the time, sinful nature and all, not just for 40 days per year.  Later, getting to know some friends who came from Catholic traditions, I could not figure out the indulger-yourself with Carnival-Fat-Tuesday thing, then turn around to give up… chocolate.  When did Jesus every talk about chocolate?

Okay, I get it.  Fasting as a religious piety ritual goes back a few millenium ?? to Jewish days of fasting for various atonements, victories and defeats.  Jesus spent 40 days fasting in the desert before going to Jerusalem. These translated into early Christian rituals, etc.  Now, while some religions continue to have periods of fasting, Christians give up certain things for Lent.  

Fasting usually was linked to prayer, as “fasting and prayer”.  Therefore a day of fasting (e.g. not eating) was supposed to be a day of prayer.  The item given up, was to eliminate a distraction, to allow for reflection, contemplation, and supplication.  Giving up chocolate was supposed to be followed by a prayerful attitude of closer connection with God.

But this begs the question of whether the give-it-up is just to substitute the time not spent opening up the candy wrapper and munching the snack with a rote or spontaneous prayerful thought.  Then, back to the day as usual.

Might Lent be more about take-it-on than give-it-up?

This… is the fasting that I wish

releasing those bound unjustly

untying the tongs of the yoke

setting free the oppressed

breaking every yoke

sharing your bread with the hungry

sheltering the oppressed and hungry

clothing the naked when you see them

and not turning your back on your own

(Isaiah 58)

If you have not decided what the give-up for Lent, consider what you might do as an act of prayer.  Take-it-on.

Check in on a neighbor.  Run an errand for someone.  Give someone a ride who does not drive.    Help a student with her or his homework.  Go for a walk with a friend.  Prepare your garden for spring planting. Clean out the winter clothes that you do not plan to wear next year and donate them.  Put on the tea or coffee pot and invite someone over.

Instead of Lent-It-Go, Go-Get-Lent.

And, keep a some chocolate bars ready to give out alone the way.

Covid19 Update on Lent…

I wrote this piece a couple of weeks ago, but then had visitors, etc. so I was not on social media much to post it.

Now, many folks are forgoing all sorts of stuff outside of their home to reduce the risk of contracting or becoming a vector for Covid19.  Might there be a Lenten possibility here?

While working or studying at home, free time seems to be limited to one’s apartment or house or yard.  One could do lots of prayerful-attitude tasks during those extra free time hours not spent driving about or doing social/community tasks.  A good deep cleaning certainly extends the Fat-Tuesday concept.

And, one mode of prayer is reading and contemplating.  The Christian scriptures contains 21 epistles.  Some are only a few pages long.  But, even the longer ones could be read in about 1 – 2 hours in one sitting.  Consider that when these letters were received by a church, the members sat down and read the letters together, in one sitting.

There you go, 21 letters, 27 days to Easter.  Pick your contemplative time each day. Read one epistle, in one sitting, maybe even out loud.

And, hold onto the chocolate bar for a post-Covid19 celebration. 

About hermitsdoor

Up here in the mountains, we have a saying, "You can't get there from here", which really means "We wouldn't go the trouble to do that". Another concept is that "If you don't know, we ain't telling." For the rest, you'll have to read between the lines.
This entry was posted in Reflections and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Lent-It-Go

  1. Emily McKenney says:

    Yes Oscar, You have the right idea. This is what we are taught to do in lent. I have lots of time these days because so many things have been cancelled. Enjoy your Sunday. Love, Emily


  2. Margaret marshall says:

    Thanks Oscar for good thoughts. Reaching out is always better than giving up!

  3. cindy knoke says:

    Wonderful post Oscar. Thank you.

  4. Growing up as a Catholic, I always knew how to party on. 😉 And then fast and pray. Great Lenten suggestions, and here is another one. While you are staying home, maybe make a donation to your favorite small business. Or buy a gift certificate or store credit. Small businesses, especially, are going to suffer, and this might help them get through this terrible time.

This Hermit's Door is Open: Step in & Share Your Opinion

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s