Archive for February, 2013

Christianity Today recently posted a list compiled by Twitter of the 100 items that people are most likely to give up during Lent this year. What topped the list?


Chocolate, swearing, alcohol, soda, Facebook, fast food, sex, sweats and meat rounded out the top 10. And No. 11? Lent itself.

I’ll leave it to you to sort out the significance of that list and what it might say about all of us. But in looking over the list it struck me that too often I have thought only about what I give up and not enough about who I turn toward during Lent, which started on Ash Wednesday and is a 40-day time of spiritual preparation for Easter. On this point, we Protestants may stand to learn a great deal from our brothers and sisters in the Catholic and Orthodox traditions.

For example, Frederica Matthewes-Green once wrote:

Orthodox Lent begins with the Rite of Forgiveness, in which all church members form a circle and, one at a time, stand face-to-face with each other and ask forgiveness. This experience is profoundly healing and also preventive; I’m more likely to restrain a harsh word in July if I recall that I will have to ask this person’s forgiveness again in March.

Ultimately, our sacrifices during Lent ought to turn our attention toward God, like a pang of hunger during a fast can remind us of our dependence upon God for all that is good. If we are more attentive toward God, perhaps as an extension of God’s love we can be more attentive toward one another.

This post also appears at Calvin Voices.

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