Lent


Lent Daily Reflections from Wineskins

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What do you think of Lent. Overall I think it’s a good practice, though it seems weird to do in a community that is not doing it and in some cases is against it. Here is a comment from a Wineskins reader I post with his permission.

whoa,
I agree with a lot of things coming from wineskins, but lent?  I don’t see where it’s part of a New Testament culture to encourage time sensitive religious rites like lent.  I appreciate your concern, but could you spend your efforts and resources keeping us off the track of secular thinking and focus? Try not to drag us into the same ol’ pool of habits and thinking that bind us to ceremony and ritualistic traditions – that’s not the wineskins I started reading 10 years ago (or longer!)
just a thought.
–Tom

What do you think?

By Greg Taylor Posted in Uncategorized

5 comments on “Lent

  1. Thanks to Tom for expressing his views. I don’t see things as he does, but it is important to hear various voices on this.

    One of my good friends and priest, Father Eugene Strahan, has taught me about the necessity of Lent.

    First, we orient ourselves with the life of Jesus as described in the Gospels. We go to the places he went, etc. Second, it is not mere ritual, it is intentional discipleship–asking what needs to (or come as it were) in order for his Spirit to have space and presence in our lives.

    Lent is a seaons of confession, repentance and self-denial. It can turn into a moralistic attempt to placate ourselves…but that’s not what it is intended to be. I don’t know of a more important season in the consumer-driven world we find ourselves in.

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  2. I hope Tom doesn’t see observing Lent as “secular thinking” and “ritualistic tradition” – because millions of Christ-seeking people find great value in it every year.

    It may not have value to him – it didn’t to me until I tried a little of it: a limited fast for the 40 days of Lent. Now it has great value and I would feel the less for missing it!

    Paul advises in Colossians 2:16, “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” and in I Corinthians 11:31, “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” It’s very much a part of New Testament culture to participate in religious festivals and not to judge others nor be judged by them for doing so.

    It’s an opportunity to join with countless other Christians in doing so.

    And an opportunity to do it for the glory of God.

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  3. Once again, your insight and writing has inspired and encouraged me. Lent, indeed, holds special meaning to many Christians. Some 55 years ago, I started to school at a country school in Oklahoma and every day at recess we boys would take a stick and draw a big circle on the sandy playground, Therein we played marbles and nothing outside that circle mattered to us for 15 minutes on a sunny afternoon. Sometimes we Christians do that, too, don’t we? I truly believe that we serve a God who has no boundaries and we cheat ourselves so much when we view others from inside our own tiny circle.

    Stay encouraged, Greg. You are appreciated.

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  4. Greg, thanks for passing along the comment by Tom, and for putting the question out there.

    I don’t see Lent the same way that Tom does, although like him I’ve never practiced it and find myself hesitant or mildly irritated or something like that.

    A life-long member of the Churches of Christ, I did have the same kind of gut reaction that Tom had when I saw the “Lent Devotional” section at the New Wineskins website. I’ve even blogged about it myself. I’m still trying to figure out the sources and qualities of my reluctance.

    I don’t beleive I know “Josh” but talk of the “necessity” of Lent is something I regard as the opposite side of forbidding Lent.

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  5. I have been, like Frank, raised in the churches of Christ. (Ironically, my dad is a Frank) I have not ever practiced Lent, and I have had many questions about it.

    The answer my father gave seems to be the most logical to me. We commemorate the death, burial and resurrection of Christ each week with the Communion. We do not need to celebrate the birth of Christ, because we are not told to. We do not need to set aside a special day to celebrate (here referring to Easter) what we should be thinking about each Sunday.

    I think that Lent is a good practice if you personally feel the need to fast from something. If you look in the Bible, fasting is not ever (that I have found) mentioned alone. It is usually Prayer AND Fasting. The point of the fast is to focus on God, not on the thing you are missing. This thing can be food, or TV, or anything that one needs to remove from God’s holy place in one’s heart.

    To bind the practice of Lent would be just as bad as to forbid it. The individual should make the choice, and find a way to direct the study.

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