What is Lent?
If you clicked on this blog hoping to find the actual meaning of lent, turn back now. I actually have very little knowledge of what lent is and the meaning behind it.
With the beginning of lent upon us, I thought I would discuss what I know about lent. Working at a seafood restaurant, lent is a busy time of year for us because we get all those catholics that can’t eat meat on Fridays so they go out to dinner to eat some sort of fish or seafood. It puts more money in my pocket and decreases meat consumption for a day. But what exactly is lent?
What people do for lent:
Growing up all I ever heard about lent was that people had to give something up for 40 days before easter. Most people give up tv, soda, baked goods, candy, fast food; generally a food item. They have to give that item up for 40 days and somehow it’s supposed to bring them closer to God and remind them of all the things Jesus went through for them.
What is the meaning of lent?
The beginning of lent is marked by people with ashes on their forehead and ends with a church service usually pertaining to the death and resurrection of Jesus and then followed by a fancy feast at home, only to continue on with life like those 40 days never even happened. Most people can’t even get through their 40 days without indulging in whatever they decided to give up or they failed to do more of what they said they were going to. Lets say you are diehard fan of the soda coke and you decided to not drink coke for lent. Does the struggle of trying not to think about coke reduce the meaning of lent because you can’t think about anything else other than not being able to drink coke? The meaning behind lent is lost because people are constantly held to these unattainable standards set by Jesus. He suffered so we must suffer, but obviously we can’t suffer as much as he did, so what’s the point?
That is about the extent of my knowledge of lent and my opinions on the matter. Sad, right?
I’m sure the crappy christians out there in the world have skewed my view of lent and its true meaning. But that’s okay because this year the Empty Church crew is reading a book called 40 Days of Decrease by Alicia Britt Chole. It provides a reading, reflection, scripture verses, and space to journal for each day of lent. I’ve never participated in lent, but I think this will provide an opportunity to learn more about Jesus.
In the comments below let us know what you are doing for lent! How are you choosing to participate? Are you giving something up? Are you going to do more of something?
A place for exploring the Church in the American context. Issues may get political, cultural, and philosophical — but it’s always personal.