Thursday, February 22, 2007

What we are giving up for Lent …

[This blog title sounds so pious. You will have to take my word for it, but that’s really not how I feel about it at all …]

Lent n. (in the Christian religion) an annual season of fasting and penitence in preparation for Easter, beginning on Ash Wednesday and lasting 40 weekdays to Easter, observed by Roman Catholic, Anglican, and certain other churches.

For the last three years Jessica and I have given up ‘sweets and alcohol’ for the season of Lent. So for 40 days, with a break on Sunday, we drank no beer or wine (one year Sprits were ok!) and had no chocolate, ice cream, biscuits or even birthday cake when our colleagues were celebrating. Well … maybe I limited myself to one small glass of red with the Manly boyz on a Monday night at Ash’s, but I was mostly good!

Most of the Aussie readers of this blog don’t really get this Lent thing because we haven’t grown-up with it. My take on it is, that by giving something up that you really will miss, when you think/want/need that thing, instead of satisfying yourself with it, you turn your heart and mind to the Lord in prayer and be satisfied in Him instead. Lent is meant to help focus us as we journey towards remembering the Easter tragedy of our Lord’s death and then the celebration of our Lord’s resurrection, at which point gluttony is all ok (as we celebrate)!

Personally, I have had mixed results with the discipline of Lent. Sometimes I focus more on the Lord, often not. Is that because I haven’t developed this discipline by growing-up spending the year moving through the church calendar? Or is it because I don’t have much of a sweet tooth and I can do without a drink if I know that a bottle of red will be cracked each Sunday? Maybe I need to give up something that I need and/or want more. My brother-in-law decided that that giving up chastity for Lent was the answer …

So, this year, instead of sweets and alcohol, we are both giving-up wasting time on the computer. It is amazing how much time and attention computers can absorb from our days – what did we do with our time before the internet and digital photography? ‘Wasting time’ is a contentious phrase, as it has been defined for the purposes of Lent as no smh.com.au, web-surfing, blog reading or iPhoto. Email is ok, and writing the odd blog will pass too (maybe you think this is a waste of time?), but we think it could be tough where the time wasting line is to be drawn, so we are going to ask each other permission on what we can and cannot do on the computer. Keep in mind, that we still don’t have a TV, and that it’s wet, dark and cold outside, so we tend to waste our time in front of our 20inch iMac.

The challenge will be to turn our attention to the Lord and maybe we will find some better uses of our time as we journey with Jesus towards Jerusalem. We’ll have to let you know …

3 comments:

Mike said...

Hello Jessica & Andrew,

i just discovered your blog amongst my cluttered feed reader that i was cleaning up. your post about "lent"-ing is very interesting, as i have never heard of the phrase before. and i do not know where i have your blog from...
for the past year i lived in Adelaide, now i live in Vancouver BC (since December '06).
i like your blog, hookin' it up with mine if thats ok with you guys...
MichaelVoth.wordpress.com

ok maybe we can meet up or something...
God Bless,
Mike.

Sib said...

I agree that in Australia, giving up something for Lent, especially in Anglican circles is not a normal annual activity.

Certainly wasting time is a contentious phrase, as some of those past-times listed are to me essential parts of the day! Especially so when using our beautiful macs *insert superior mac user smug look here*.

Good luck with your 40 days!

Anonymous said...

Sounds good! The longer I'm around the more I realise that personal spiritual disciplines are a good thing and largely forgotten in our era.

But here's a thought . . . why give it up just for lent? How good would it be if we could give up time wasting computer for good! H and I are trying to stop the tyranny of the tv (with mixed results.)

Scott T