As a former Baptist, I never really observed Lent. It was mostly a time I’d hear various friends talk about giving up dairy. Or sweets. Or soda. I never really understood how giving up cheese for forty days could bring you closer to Christ. I know we’re supposed to make sacrifices, but cheddar just seems way down on the list. There aren’t a lot of things I’d struggle with giving up for forty days. Well, except chocolate. Or sugar in general. And Diet Coke. Or TV. Chicken. I guess e-mail. And Facebook. Maybe Mexican food. But that’s about it.
I wanted to observe Lent a couple of years ago so I tried to think of something easy to give up. That’s when I thought giving up procrastination would be a good idea. Clearly I was missing the point. Besides that, I never really got around to it.
My understanding of Lent has deepened since I’ve been in the Lutheran church. I now know it’s not about the cheese, or the sugar, or any other item one chooses to forego during the Lenten season. The sacrifice serves as a reminder of the suffering of Christ. The forty days of fasting is a season to reflect and remember who was sacrificed on our behalf as we approach Good Friday and Easter. This year, I’m fasting from chocolate and desserts in general. My desire is to think of Christ when I’m tempted to indulge. Honestly, I’m still working on that part. At the moment, when I see something sweet my thoughts go something like this: Don’t look! Don’t think about it either. That looked good. I said don’t think about it! I miss chocolate. When is Easter again? I suppose my faith is much weaker than my cravings. And temptation is all around me. It seems the only advertisement the convenience store near my house seems to display on their sign is what King Size candy bars are on sale each week. It’s M&Ms this week. I tried not to look. I think Satan runs that store.