February 18, 2010

When Good things get made popular and secularized, they cease to be Good in the hearts of men.

With the advent of the Lenten season (the period of time leading up to Easter, which began yesterday, Ash Wednesday) and all of the blog posts that I have been reading today on the topic, I decided to throw my thoughts into the picture. See, for a long time, I have seen Lent treated in a terribly perverse way. Perverse in the sense that it remains a case to be proven, in some people's lives, as a true act of reverence towards the sacrifice Jesus paid on the Cross.

A number of my years, I would personally entertain the idea that I was going to give something up for the duration of the 40 days. Most times, I would either forget that I had given it up or decided that I wanted a bowl of ice cream, 2 liter of Mountain Dew and sleeve of Oreo cookies more than I wanted to abstain from the things that I had "committed" to giving up to demonstrate my understanding of His sacrifice. One might say that that was a pretty good demonstration of where Jesus actually was in my life. Others might want to make me feel better about my life and say that I was young, immature and really had no conception of what Lent is truly all about.

Other years, I would deem that only the Catholics are to observe Lent and that there is no way that I was going to become Catholic and therefore, do nothing of the sort to recklessly assert any allegiance to that way of belief or any of their traditions. They were responsible for the Crusades for Pete's sake! And so, the appropriate response is to do nothing to honor the ultimate sacrifice and go on living my life on my terms, in all forms of hedonism and self-comfort.

So, this year, I'm going to take a reverse approach to this Lent thing. I refuse to allow a season that is to be geared toward coming to a better understanding of what it means to give something up, just to give something up. We call that fasting. And yes, I do intend to work on that. In processing through Lent and why I want to be a participant in this year's version of the season has nothing to do with bettering myself or making something seem like a fun idea. I want nothing to do with making myself be glorified in this whole thing. Anything that I do to truly sacrifice for 40 days, I want to do it simply for the glory of God.

This seems to eliminate a few things pretty quickly.
-Losing weight.
-Not texting.
-Writing witty blogposts about sacrificing things.
-Being nicer.
-Telling people what I'm going to do so they can see it and tell me what a good job I'm doing in this season of Lent.

All that to say, I'm not sure if I'm doing Lent this year. Guess that means that I'm not. Perhaps, my whole rant here is to say one big point:
The point of Lent is not to begin things we should already be doing or to stop doing things we shouldn't be doing. 
If you shouldn't be drinking soda, because it's bad for your health, then stop. If you should be watching less TV because you should be reading your Bible or any book, then do it. But don't give something up that you should have given up anyway.

If Lent is something that you need to do, fine. But as we enter this season, may the point of the season be evident in our lives each day: Christ gave the ultimate sacrifice, our response is, and can only be, complete surrender every day. Allow this season be a renewed time of awe-inspired dedication to following Jesus.


Adam Cramer said...

Challenging and insightful. Good stuff, Geoff.

Geoff Cocanower said...

Thanks Adam. Still not sure if I can fully participate... still challenged by it...

Nick said...

false if you would like to try me on this we can have a competition when i am done with baseball . . .