Greetings in Christ!
I pray that the month of March is off to a good start for you all. Here we are, once again in the Lenten season. What is Lent? Lent is a time of repentance, fasting and preparation for the coming of Easter. For many it is a time for penance, as we reflect on what Jesus went through for us. Lent lasts for forty day which is symbolic to the forty days Jesus spent in the wilderness and it begins forty-six days before Easter. How does that work? Because Sundays don’t count in the forty days. They are considered “Mini-Easters”.
It is a tradition during lent to acknowledge the suffering of Jesus by giving up something that we enjoy in life. For many, it might seem like the giving up of chocolate is akin to dying on the cross. While I agree that no chocolate for forty days can be torturous, I think most of us can agree that it isn’t that bad. And yet, it is hard to give something like that up if it is part of our daily routine. How often have we failed at completing a whole lent season without that “slip”? I’ll tell you right now, I am guilty.
If we think about it, most of us in this area have been forced into giving up something for Lent. Our electricity! As you know, we just had an epic ice storm that wiped out power for most people in our region. Some were lucky and didn’t lose power, but not too many. Many of us didn’t have the luxury of generators, so had to live with gas heat from stoves and gas and wood burning fireplaces. What a humbling experience. What a blessing it was to hear about certain places like Sacred Heart Church offering a shelter for those who needed warmth, and the Lenawee Christian Center who provided showers for members and non-members. In the midst of a hard moment, we see the love of God in action. A blessing to us was when the large branch that fell in front of our church laid across the sidewalk, and Pastor John Rath from the Baptist Church called me and asked if he could bring his chainsaw and cut it up. With him doing that and Miss Linda Krasny doing clean up, the church front is accessible and looks so much better. Talk about acts of kindness! That leads to this thought.
You may have heard, but some people have taken to an alternative to giving up something during Lent. Instead of giving up a particular thing or action, they have added something positive to their life. For instance, you can do one act of kindness every day. You can do an exercise every day, maybe sit-ups or pushups. Or, you can contact a friend every day. And, of course, we are doing a Gratitude Project, so you might consider finding someone to be thankful for and sending them a hand written note telling them so. These are just a few suggestions, but the idea is, instead of giving up something and feeling bad for falling short, you can add something positive to your life, and even when you do miss the mark, you still have added something, instead of coming back to the way things were.
Either way, I pray that you are having a most blessed day and that your weeks to come are filled with the remembrance of all Jesus Christ has done for us. Peace and blessings always!