February 12th, 2013

trinity

Observing Lent this year

In previous years, I've observed Lent by giving up various things for the duration, such as my analogue watch, or favourite websites. This year, I will not be.

Winter always brings my mood low; this year, it seems to have been worse than ever. Giving something up now is not going to help me count my blessings, or bring me closer to God. It's just going to make me more miserable.

It's important to remember that Jesus did not instruct his followers to observe a yearly month of asceticism. Jesus only instituted two rites: baptism and holy communion, and even the former is open to interpretation (which is my excuse for never having gone through with it, heh).

At the Bible study group I attend, we're currently going through St Paul's letter to the Colossians. In chapter 2, we read these words:

See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ ... Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day ... Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you for the prize ... Since you died with Christ to the basic principles of this world, why, as though you still belonged to it, do you submit to its rules: "Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!"? These are all destined to perish with use, because they are based on human commands and teachings. Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.
Colossians 2:8,16,18a,20-23 (NIV)

So rather than giving something up, gaining nothing from it and just being resentful at having given it up, I will try to count my blessings and be thankful that because of Jesus, I don't need to be bound by religious laws.

(I still had pancakes today, mind. Because PANCAKES).

Between now and Easter, I will also re-read Luke's Gospel. I won't use a study guide or anything like that, I'll just read it; it was written to be read, not picked apart word-by-word. It's a good time of year to revisit a Gospel and remind myself of what Jesus was like, and how I should aim to be.