Tomorrow begins the season of Lent, a time of fasting, prayer and generosity.
Most of us are familiar with the first component. It’s not uncommon to overhear dialogues about the sacrifice of chocolate, coffee, alcohol, and Facebook for the next month and a half. Krista checked in last week with hers and this afternoon my daughter tweeted, “Already know what I’m giving up for Lent.”
But I have a confession: It’s fat Tuesday and I still haven’t considered what God is asking me to give up. My temptation is to just pick something so I don’t look like a Philistine when someone loops me into a Lenten discussion.
Fortunately, even in my religious anxiety the Spirit is kind enough to remind me that giving up something is only the beginning. The fast is to create a hunger, a longing, or a tension that draws me into deeper awareness of and conversation with God. The point isn’t just to conquer our caffeine addiction or break the power that chocolate has on us or to stay off social media so we can be more productive. The goal is to become more intimate with God.
Some traditions don’t emphasize fasting at all during Lent. They encourage people to be generous with the poor, whether serving them personally or giving money to charitable organizations.
I would love to hear about your Lenten journey.
May we all go beyond just giving something up.