Monday, March 20, 2017

Thoughts on Lent

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My Song in the Night

            I worship in a faith community that observes the season of Lent. On March 1, we held Ash Wednesday service. We had, as our guests, congregants from a sister church and their newly-appointed pastor.

            In my Lenten devotional reading, one author reminds me that our practice of observing the season recalls the 40 days our Lord spent in the wilderness. Another writer calls it a time of preparation for Easter. I am interested in the practice of fasting.


            The custom of fasting or giving something up during these 40 days reminds us of what Jesus went through both in the wilderness and during the time between His entrance into Jerusalem and His being crucified at Golgotha.

            We might give up whatever we feel we depend upon. One friend said she was giving up caffeine because she realized she felt she needed that latte every day.

            Some people choose to give up chocolate or sweets each year because they have developed a daily habit of indulging, or shall I say overindulging, in those treats.
            One of the devotional guides I read last year, and am reading again for this year, “40 Days of Decrease” takes a different approach to the practice of fasting. The author suggests we fast something different each day.

            Back when I was in college, I tried to give up a long-standing habit I had. However, I was not able to sustain my resolve for the entire 40 days.  I didn’t give it much thought through the intervening years until we had a pastor in our old church who posed the idea that we, as a congregation, observe Lent, including fasting a habit or a treat.

            The pastor of our present church has, in the past, has reminded us to fast a meal or two one day a week through the weeks of our Lenten observance. Some people can’t give up a meal for reasons of health. The current idea is that we give up a certain part of our meals, like that pie, cake, or ice cream, we enjoy afterward. One friend of mine gave up her nook one Lent. I gave up sugar one year and discovered sugar was more than a substance that I put in my tea. 
            We can also consider adding something to our daily life that we believe will help us become better people. On one of the social media sites, the husband of a friend of mine posted the suggestion that we might consider de-cluttering our homes as well as our lives during this season. Yes, I have considered this specific practice and have already started *but I haven’t kept up with it.* I plan to get back on it as soon as I finish updating this blog.


  1. I haven't fasted in several years, and have always meant to study it more in depth. Appreciate you sharing, Cecelia. Have a good week! :)

  2. Fasting is something I find difficult to do. I am trying to be more consistent in my daily walk with the Lord...drawing closer to Him and obeying His call to serve more than to be served. It's not easy. But I am thankful the Lord is with me and gives me new opportunities to serve Him when I am paying closer attention. It's been a blessing so far. Thank you for your consistent faithfulness to share His Word with us. God bless you richly.

    1. Thank you, Pam. I know it is difficult. We sometimes fail. All we can do is seek God's forgiveness and try again. I am reminded of words to an old pop song. "Pick yourself up, wipe yourself off, and start all over again." I think of Eric Lytle and the choice he made not to run in the Olympic race he trained for because it was on Sunday. God was with him when he did run on Monday. But I believe he struggled as he weighed his options. He chose to honor God.

  3. Hi Cecelia! We also observe Lent, and it's call to prayer, fasting and almsgiving. On Fridays, we abstain from meat.
    I am trying to cut back on sugar and salt, and let me tell you, that stuff is everywhere, just as you found out with sugar. It's a good sacrifice that I am not perfect at doing, but I am trying!

    1. Ceil: When I was able to go to our church's Wednesday night meals, especially during Lent, I found, if I gave up sweets, I was tempted by the desserts. I even made a joke about it to one of the cooks, "Can I pretend today's Sunday?" She really didn't understand what I was trying to tell her in a nice way. I did bypass the desserts then.

  4. Karen: Thank you for your candor. The name of the book I used last Lent and again this year is "40 Days of Decrease."It's written by Alicia Britt Chole. At the end of each day's reading she has a snippet of information about the history of Lent.

  5. I once fasted complaining for a day. It was the hardest fast ever!

    1. Jeanette,I understand. One Lent, I fasted self. That was extra difficult.


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