Musings before Lent

I’ve been somewhat bemused over the past few years about the number of Protestants who are adopting Lenten practices. I remember a time when Lent was one of the hard Catholic/Protestant divides.  Most of the people I know give up items along the lines of sugar, beer, meat.  Quite frankly, I’ve never gotten those resolutions: how many people on Easter go back to what they have “given up”.

Lent is a man-made construct in the Christian tradition: the word Lent does not appear in The Bible.  Early Lenten traditions appear similar to Ramadan (one meal a day, in the evening).  While the construct is to mimic the 40 days Jesus spent facing temptation in the desert and demonstrating that as mortals, believers can do the same. I’m not sold on this as being a something that actually falls in line with the more moderate-liberal Christian teachings. Is somebody “more” virtuous because they can not go to the movies for 40 days? or skip eating chocolate?

If the purpose of Lent is to affirm and re-affirm the underlying principles of faith in the Christian tradition, wouldn’t it make more sense to do something working towards a better world, a better self or reconciliation of faith versus showing abstinence towards something an individual enjoys.

If I were to take the time to dedicate to working 40 days to making a first order change in either my personal life OR my community, isn’t that the true meaning and purpose of the faith on which Lent is grounded?


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