Last Wednesday was Ash Wednesday, which is the beginning of Lent. Lent is the time of introspection and repentance in preparation for Easter. This season is observed by various Christian traditions. There are also many traditions surrounding it. You may have heard of some groups that “give things up for Lent”. This practice may seem showy but when we examine the scriptures, we do see that it is indeed a pious tradition. In Isaiah the Lord tells of us the type of fasting that he approves of. “Is this not the fast that I have chosen: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, to let the oppressed go free, and that you break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out; when you see the naked, that you cover him, and not hide yourself from your own flesh?” Isaiah 58:6-7 Many people think of giving things up for Lent to grow closer to God or for the sake of disciplining oneself. However, reading these verses in Isaiah gives us another purpose. We have the option to give something up in order to give something out. For example, if you decide to give up fast food for Lent, then you would need to pack a lunch or make provisions for how you will eat. One benefit of this is you would save money. Then you would donate the money you save to the needy. There are many organizations in your community that assist those who need help or perhaps you know a family that has fallen on tough times. This is the type of fasting that the Lord approves. Ultimately though, Lent isn’t about what we give up for God. It’s about what Jesus gave up for us. He gave up everything and gave it to us.
God’s Peace, Pastor Nicholas Kandoll