Who decided that self-sacrifice was the proper way to prepare for the solemn remembrance of the crucifixion and celebration of the resurrection of our Christ? It certainly is not what He was doing in those days leading up to Calvary. Indeed, His last days on earth were not spent in secluded self-reflection. Rather His teaching, preaching and healing intensified. And it ended with a feast! Solemn though it was. With this in mind should we rethink Lenten discipline? I’ll grant that giving up something we like or even crave for forty days can help keep our focus on the season. But, what does this do for the spread of the Kingdom, as we are called to do? I could give up cheese, which I dearly love in all forms, or parsnips, which I don’t eat anyway, but what has this accomplished other than satisfaction if I am successful in my insignificant self-denial, or guilt if I fail in my resolve? Perhaps instead of giving something up it would be more appropriate to take something on. Something that could contribute even in a small way toward accomplishing some of those things that each Sunday we pray forgiveness for not having done. What do you think? I’d love your comments.
– Dick Comstock