May your Lent be full of blessings,
~The Rev. Peter M. Carey
Lent. What is it for?
By Peter M. Carey
Entering Lent each year I tend to hear people at church (including myself) say that we should “give something up,” or (more recently) “take something on”. Giving up chocolate, or alcohol, or negativity are some choices that I have heard about. Taking on such things as praying daily, reading the Bible, or tending to one’s spiritual life can be wonderful disciplines. Often, however, I get focused on the obstacles. I get focused on (and obsessed with?) the thing I’ve tried to “give up,” or I find myself focusing on the thing that I’ve “taken on.” This is the wrong focus, perhaps like a hurdler focusing on the hurdles so much that she hits every hurdle and crashes. Obviously, the hurdles are not the focus of the race. Focusing on the obstacles can obscure the goal. I imagine this may be true of others as well.
This year, I have tried to really consider the question of the reason that we observe Lent at all. What is the reason to “give up” or “take on.” There are probably tons of reasons, but, for me, as someone with a busy house of three children under 6, and a busy ministry of serving as a chaplain to a large and complex school, the main reason to observe Lent at all has been to give some time to remember God. I have attempted to focus on God, rather than the things I’ve given up (Facebook), and rather than the things I’ve taken on (reading the Bible and theology daily with greater focus).
As simple as it sounds, the practice of giving time back to God, so that I might remember the ever present reality of God, can become difficult.
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