Monday, February 20, 2012

Lent Is Around The Corner

Tomorrow is the celebration of Shrove Tuesday in the Christian world.
OK, not all Christians celebrate it. Mostly those who are in liturgical churches, Orthodox, Roman Catholic or Protestant.
I am still, some days barely, a member of the Episcopal Church and we are a liturgical church.
The point of Shrove Tuesday is to get rid of the items that make for good and rich food.
And the purpose of that?
To begin the season known as Lent.
Lent is the 46 day period from Ash Wednesday to Easter Eve or The Great Vigil of Easter. And here is how Anglicans/Episcopalians celebrate The Great Vigil.
Whenever I bring up the subject of Lent, my American Baptist friend gives a brush off. He is amazed that his own church has been taking up the discipline the last several years. He would consider it too Roman Catholic.
While he is correct, as noted in the link, many non-liturgical churches are beginning this discipline. And it is a good thing.
For many, particularly Roman Catholics, it is all about "What are you giving up for Lent?" And mostly it is mundane stuff. Yeah, I never have heard one yet say they were giving up sex. Or maybe cutting back on the adult beverage. Or not going to the movies. A sporting event. A concert. You get the picture. As I said it is something usually mundane.
However, what I find Lent can be about is what are you going to do for Lent? Not focusing on a sacrifice, but of restoring one or more Christian disciplines.
Some people suggest they will read and study the Holy Bible more. Now most Roman Catholics do little if any true bible study. That is something rather unique to the Protestant world. And Protestant liturgical churches promote that as a discipline.
Traditionally, Lent was the period of preparation for a candidate to receive Holy Baptism and Confirmation as a full member of the church. It is still followed today, but at least in the Protestant tradition not with the strictness of the days of yore.
But it is a time of great expectation and immense sadness. After all it culminates not with the triumphal ride of Jesus Christ into the gates of the Holy city of Jerusalem. But it culminates with the crufifiction of Jesus on Mount Calvary.
But that is the bad part.
Of course there is the breaking of the stone and Jesus rising on the third day and taking his seat at the right hand of the Father.
But what are you doing for Lent? Is it giving up something and showing off about it? Or is it committing yourself to something like a disciplined time for intense prayer?
For me, I will commit myself to following reading the Holy Bible, King James Version of course, on a daily basis. I will try to follow the calendar of readings set forth by the church.
Remember, Lent is around the corner. It is the time to get closer to God.

No comments: