Growing up in a Presbyterian family and church, I was aware of very little emphasis on Lent. We might, curiously have pancakes for dinner on a Tuesday in early spring some years to use up the oil. By some curious miracle we never ran out of oil…
As a rather young young adult, I was sitting in the Student Union Building at UBC with friends from various churches. Someone asked one of our group, a young Jesuit, what he was giving up for Lent and he quipped “celibacy”, a word I didn’t know. Everyone laughed, but I didn’t get it. The more, and more loudly I asked, the quieter everyone got. Finally, mercifully, one of the young women, a little older than I, took me aside and explained. As my understanding grew, the red glow from my face illuminated the SUB.
As an adult, I kind of feel that Lent is a little like celibacy – in the story above, that is – something that others get, but I am outside the circle of understanding. Over the years I have developed an eclectic view, and spotty observance of Lent.
One of my friends will not observe Lent. He feels that it is un-christian. I guess one could see Lent as trying to prove something to God, or earn points, or leverage Him into doing something.
Now, as an Anglican, Lent is with us big time.
I have and do participate in some observances: One year I gave up coffee – and was grumpy for 3 weeks – no one told me about having Sundays off- so I could have had a cup on the weekend…
I’m over 40 words, but I include a comic. Lent is not a time to try to make God pay attention to us.
He has said “I will never forsake you”