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Lent is About More Than Just Fasting

Posted by thethousandmarch on March 17, 2011 at 9:38 PM

My first encounter with Lent was a guy I knew in college fasting from refined sugar. A group of us had gone out to a restaurant; he sat there looking forlorn as we ate dessert. It seems like most people only think Lent is about giving something up. That is generally how I thought of it until this year. But, as I was reading about Lent this year I came across something interesting – it didn't really register until I was talking with Jessi after the Ash Wednesday service we went to.
The priest (it was an Episcopalian service) mentioned how Lent is traditionally a time of year for reconciliation. As Jessi and I talked about this, it reminded me how I had read about Lent being a time of year were we as Christians are supposed to renew our commitment to justice. Justice towards God in prayer, justice towards self which is where the fasting comes in, and justice towards others with alms giving. Now this may be a loose use of the word justice, but I like the principle. Lent is not supposed to be about giving something up, it's about giving love to others. Why has Lent been turned into a time of year when we try to break a habit we don't like, or lose some weight?
Whatever we do during Lent it should not cause us to become even more self-focused. We should pursue practices which help us to focus our attention on God and others. I really think that for most of us fasting is more of a hindrance to our walk with God than it is a help. It would be nice to see this time of year become more and more a time of year where we renew our focus upon loving God and loving others, not just trying to be more religious so we can feel good about ourselves.

Categories: Lent