Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The tradition of Lent

Today in our work Bible study we were reminded not to let customs or traditions become just something we do... we need to keep the purpose in them. And just a few weeks ago at the retreat I was reminded about fasting and am eager to learn about it and ways to use it... what better way to try fasting than with the tradition of lent so...

I am giving up Dr. Pepper for lent! 

Today is Ash Wednesday which starts the 40 days (44 when you include Sundays) of 'lent fast' leading up to Easter. I am far from being a Bible scholar, but I am told the 'tradition' of lent is man made and cannot be found in the Bible, although it is to remember Jesus' 40 day fast in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11; Luke 4:1-13).  It discourages me that the whole process of lent doesn't come from the Bible, but I still feel compelled to participate in it. According to this website Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are supposed to be fasting days allowing only one full meal. During lent no meat should be eaten on Fridays. Bennett explains, "When you given something up for lent you are embracing a form of fasting, an excellent spiritual discipline."  Lent is also a time to dive into your scriptures and develop or strengthen your discipline for daily prayer. Another idea is to give the money you would spend on meat on Fridays, the food on Fridays and in my case the money on DP should be donated to the church. 

"While Lent is about giving something up (i.e. fasting), it is also about putting something positive in its place." I wasn't decided on what to put in the place of Dr. Pepper, but a friend suggested when I order a water instead of Dr. Pepper at a restaurant or when I have a caffeine headache these are the times I should focus on the purpose of fasting and why I am choosing not to partake in my tasty addiction.  So I think I will be replacing Dr. Pepper with prayer.

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