A New Look at Lent
My friend told me about his new look at “Lent”. Like Christians for centuries, my friend performed the 3 Lenten rituals – Prayer. Fasting. Alms-giving. All 3 Lenten practices are deeply rooted in Biblical verses concerning Lamentation.
Certainly, God’s sacrifice of His Son by allowing Him to become man, and suffer & die on the Cross, to atone for the sins of all of humanity, is the ultimate sacrifice in history. No question. So, in gratitude for Good Friday, Christians would sacrifice something. personal.
They would give-up a favorite food, like chocolate, or a favorite activity, like going to the movies. Their sacrifice was Repentance (“Create n me a new clean heart”), and Penance for the sins they committed. Their focus of Lent was on Good Friday. Christians expressed their gratitude to Christ for the Forgiveness of All Sin, for Everyone, Forever.
It was important to acknowledged that he was a sinner So, my friend “Repented” his sin:
- by removing self-reliance as the answer to his security & joy.
- by removing prejudice, recognizing that others are “Made in the image and likeness of God”,
- by surrendering his need to be right.
And did some type of “Penance” by “Giving-Up” something he enjoyed, like a food, o drink, or activity.
But he often failed. (Like St. Paul wrote, “When I want to do good, I don’t. And when I want to avoid evil, I do it anyway.”) God already knew that, and acquitted him anyway, “AS Is”.
So, my friend decided to focus on Easter, to focus on the “Resurrected” loving relationship with God. He realized that Easter gave man hope to believe in Jesus Christ, to believe that man could experience the presence of God within himself, on a personal basis.
The requirement of this “New Covenant” of a personal relationship with God was to love God with his whole heart, mind, and soul, and love others as Christ loves him. He acknowledged that the world, with one exception (him), was made up of others. Many of these others worked in low paying jobs, as retails clerks, drive-thru servers, cashiers, etc. (ALL were Members of the Body of Christ).
The above YouTube music video expresses the essence of sharing what you have, asking nothing in return.
- So, he began to give each service person a buck ($1) and saying “Thanks”, at their Service Window.
- Then, he also would include a word of encouragement – a brief supportive poetic verse, (if possible, while waiting).
- At Times, he gave them a “Blessing”: “For the rest of your life, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.”
The result was always a wide smile, sometimes a tear.
This communal loving relationship was the functional expression of the “Body of Christ” – all members different from each other, caring for each other, in different ways, all valued the same by God. That’s the Cosmic Beauty & Power of the “Body of Christ” relationship.
My friend’s “New Look at Lent“ by Repenting: “Create in me a new, clean heart”, and Penance by “Loving one another as I (Christ) love you” fulfills Christ’s mission on Good Friday & Easter Sunday, reconciling God & man. My friend’s “New Look at Lent” experiences the presence of God in the Sanctuary of his soul, Not by Giving-Up Something, but by Doing an Act o Kindness.
BTW: The word “Sacrifice” does Not mean “Loss”. The word”Sacrifice” comes from 2 Latin words: “Sacri Faciam” – “To make Holy”. Doing an Act of Kindness is Holy. It’s also an Act of Love.
The Above YouTube Music Video with Lyrics Captures the essence of this Blog Post’s Message.
- My friend shared this message with his family.
- Like seed sown among Good Soil, Rocks & Thorns, some will. Some won’t. So What.
- Members of the “Body of Christ” are only responsible for their Effort, thru Grace.
- God is responsible for outcomes: “Opening Minds. Softening Hearts. Touching Souls,
This Lent, Sacrifice something by Doing an Act of Kindness.