‘What are you giving up for Lent?’ I have lost count of the number of times I get asked that question each year. Perhaps people think there are lots of things I need to give up! This year I have decided to give up asking the question ‘What are you giving up for Lent?’ because it strikes me that it is a negative question that reinforces the idea that Christianity is all about things we can’t or shouldn’t do.
Instead I want to ask the question ‘What are you doing for Lent?’ Lent should be a positive experience for us as Christians; a time for us to reflect on our relationship with God and each other and a time to creatively engage with God’s will for our lives and his world. If you are going to give up doing something for Lent then ask yourself what is the creative positive alternative? Some people give up eating chocolate or biscuits for Lent; a positive alternative might be to change to eating Fairtrade chocolate or biscuits. Of course if you need to give up eating too much chocolate or too many biscuits then you should be doing that anyway and shouldn’t need to wait for Lent and use God as the excuse for a crash diet.
During Lent we will be continuing our series on the Fruit of the Spirit in our morning services at St. Mary’s. One positive action might be to take one of the Fruit of the Spirit each week and think of a practical positive way of cultivating that fruit. For example, think of an act of generosity you might offer towards someone you know or do something joyful as a celebration of God’s gracious love.
There is an excellent resource to help us creatively engage with Lent called Love Life Live Lent which has suggestions for celebrating Lent as individuals and families. For more information check out the website.
May this Lent be a positive experience; a time when we grow closer to God and become more alert to his will for us and for his creation.
Oh, and I’ll use any excuse to post one of my favourite Peter Gabriel songs.
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