What are you giving up?
Lent is one of those beautiful, funky, makes you go hmmm, reflective times of the year. Next Wednesday, millions of people will go to work and school with ash crosses on their head. They will have the words– for you are dust and to dust you shall return– echoing in their ears. People outside the church are curious, maybe confused, possibly judgmental.
In this worship service, why do we intentionally think about our shortcomings?
It treats them with integrity– we all have them, best not to ignore them. It also gives us hope that there is One who came to offer forgiveness and whole-hearted change. We will have an Ash Wednesday service at Restoration on Feb 25 at 7:30pm. We’d love for you to join us.
From Feb 26 until April 11, millions of people will also give up something (chocolate, dessert, TV, alcohol) or add something (prayer, meditation on Scripture, community service) as a spiritual discipline to remind themselves that they are dust, to remind themselves of their longings and hunger, to prepare for Easter. What have you given up? Or added? Do you like it? Think it’s wierd? Do you like this time of year? Tell us your story.
February 19, 2009 @ 8:35 am
I have honestly never given anything up for lent. I always think about it…but never have. My friends who have are always giving up alcohol or chocolate — both of which are highly important.
February 19, 2009 @ 8:51 am
Spend the first minute after you wake up, and the last minute before you go to bed, in prayer. It’s a sweeeet way to start/end the day.
February 19, 2009 @ 9:03 am
Scott: and very inclusive…
which begins with ‘I’
February 19, 2009 @ 9:29 am
Along the themes of scripture from this week’s small group passage in 2 Timothy – and using Scott’s method – selecting one of the gospel letters to go through this lent, reading a passage in the morning and rereading it in the evening.
February 19, 2009 @ 9:41 am
Love Scott’s idea! Very doable and very focused. One year Anthony gave up coffee and I gave up chocolate. Almost ended in divorce and we have not tried that since! One year I committed to writing one letter (not email) a day to someone I loved. GREAT experience! May try that one again. I think Lent will be extra sweet this year. Not only are we preparing for Easter, but preparing to officially launch RAC. Prayer and discipline and looking to God (vs trying to control things ourselves…which is a HUGE struggle for me) will be most necessary. So glad to be on this journey together!
February 19, 2009 @ 4:56 pm
Hahaha yes David, and I do strive for inclusivity. Who am I kidding, I strive for me-clusivity.
February 19, 2009 @ 8:25 pm
I would like to see everyone take at least one photo, start a Flickr account, and tag each photo ‘restorationarlington’
That is my dream in life. My dream…
February 19, 2009 @ 11:30 pm
2 years ago I gave up red wine (though through some twisted logic I determined port was in a different category). Last year I gave up reading novels (which I often just use to pass time on airplanes or to help me fall asleep.) I replaced that with Bible reading or devotionals. Anyway, both years worked out great because giving things up served as a daily reminder of what season we were in and turned my mind in the right direction. Not sure about this year – thinking about TV. I also learned just recently that Sundays don’t count as being in Lent? If so, I wish I had known that the year I gave up wine:)
February 20, 2009 @ 4:06 pm
Giving up alcohol is an option, but since I only drink a couple days a week (one of which is usually Sunday) it doesn’t seem like it would be that noteworthy. One nonprofit that I am connected with is suggesting that people give up all liquids but water, and then send the money saved to help drill wells in the developing world.
The thing I don’t want to give up, but probably should: swimming. If I gave up swimming three times a week and channeled that into prayer/devotional time, it would be significant.
February 20, 2009 @ 7:29 pm
Although I’m fairly new to the Anglican tradition, I did participate in the Lenten fast last year. I gave up buying lunch during the work week. The discipline of thinking ahead to pack my lunch and learning to say “no thanks” to my office mates was a good challenge. It made me very cognisant of how quickly I listened to my stomach and willingly spent more than I should’ve.
February 21, 2009 @ 2:12 pm
These are such good ideas! I like the no buying lunch– although it feels hard. I also like disciplines that you add, rather than just denial. I am excited about our upcoming daily prayer meetings during Lent!!
February 23, 2009 @ 1:19 pm
one year i gave up grudges. it was amazing to enter into the willful decision to forgive. was reminded again today that forgiveness is an action and not an emotion. it is a choice. after all, it was the same choice that jesus made for us, as well as for those whom we need to forgive. take a gander at romans 5:8.
February 23, 2009 @ 7:41 pm
i like the grudge one, Louise. i’m not sure i’m ready for that, though. i really enjoy my grudges. So maybe i should.
So here’s what I WAS thinking: maybe choose a passage or a psalm and read it (and actually think about it ) 3 times a day —well, maybe twice— same passage all Lent. Better choose carefully.
i’m just thinking.
i have until Wednesday.
February 24, 2009 @ 11:43 am
I like the idea of being reminded daily what season we are in. i’m being overly-ambitious this year & taking this season of lent as an opportunity to cultivate a healthier more reflective life. but my zeal is tempered by the knowledge that i will most certainly fail in at least a few of my lenten disciplines (give up diet coke & shopping; pray for 30 minutes once a week; fast one meal per week; read for 1 hour once a week, for pleasure; devote 30 minutes to written correspondence, once a week; cook one meal from a recipe, once a week; clean one area of my home, once a week-mostly so my roommates will love me again; the end.)
i can’t believe i don’t do some of these things already…baby steps.
My hope is that these disciplines will bring renewed nearness & dependence on Jesus.
February 24, 2009 @ 3:06 pm
Lent is a liturgical season of 40 days beginning on the “Day of Ashes”, Ash Wednesday and ending on “Holy Saturday”. Lent always begins on a Wednesday because the 40 days are counted backwards from “Easter Sunday” omitting each Sunday. Sunday, the Sabbath, is a “Little Easter” and each Sunday injects a ray of hope into the somber Lenten season.
Much of the spirit of Lent is based on the 40 days Jesus spent in the desert preparing for his ministry. We are also reminded that in Noah’s time it took 40 days of the flood to purify the earth. Jesus entered the desert free of illusions and attachments of the world. It was just Jesus with the Father and the Holy Spirit, but demons came to him as they come to us. He showed us how to drive off the demons with the Word of God. He showed us who he was not. He did not come to bribe us with earthly bread, or to dazzle us with miracles or to win world domination with armies. He simply did the will of the Father.
We must enter Lent as Jesus entered the desert,
free of illusions and attachments. To deprive ourselves of
these can be painful. We are a people of illusions. We think we understand God and ourselves. We even try to impose our wills on God and say we know his plans. We plan our lives without God and are shocked and angry when our plans fall through. As we deprive ourselves of our illusions and worldly attachments, we find we are not all-powerful; we are slaves to our desires, the opinions of others and to the pleasures of the world. We can not stand pain, physical or emotional, so we take a pill. We can not stand growing old so we diet, have plastic surgery, exercise, dye our hair and read “How To” books. Like Darth Vader in Star Wars we replace our humanity with technology. Doing without and deprivation of illusions and worldly attachments can give us a glimpse of truth, which is worth the pain.
February 25, 2009 @ 8:12 am
David mentioned a few weeks ago that what comes out of our mouths shows us and others what is in our hearts. This got me thinking. Much in the same way, what I reach for first thing in the morning, after the kids are finally off to school, shows me what I put my trust in. Lately, this has been the newspaper and press, my computer, my home and keeping it orderly so I feel more at ease.
This Lent, I am vowing to reach for God first. I will spent at least 15 minutes with Him in prayer and writing before I turn on my computer, read a newspaper or busy myself with my to-do list. I am telling you this so you’ll keep me accountable!
This morning was day one. Last night this all seems like a great idea. Today, and actually doing it, was a different story. I am pulled like a magnet away from Him and towards these things! I’ll be praying for all of you and for me that, in our weakness during Lent, God makes us strong!
February 25, 2009 @ 9:24 am
My Lent will focus on the restoration of sanctuary in my life — the still, quiet place I can sit with God, work on listening to him, cultivate my knowledge of scripture and deepen my connection to the Spirit through prayer. My desire is for increased simplicity and purposeful living.
I’ve also decided to give up alcohol as a form of submission and also as a way to direct how I spend my evenings, weekends and, in turn, my mornings. The importance of this choice is the affirmation of who has authority in my life and who defines my joy.
February 25, 2009 @ 9:43 am
My hope during this season of Lent is to re-focus my soul and realign myself with Jesus. Over the course of last year my soul has a wandered a bit, and I am so excited and a bit scared to see what the Lord has in store for me during this time of reflection and renewal. I am encouraged that I BOTH my roommates have a). already made Lenten commitments and b). have also posted on this sweet blog. I am blown away by the fact that I live with such intentional women, women who know and love the Lord. So – here is a shout out to Jacket and Kris. thank you ladies for being women of God and for desiring to “share life” with me.
As for Lent, I, too, will be giving up alcohol. I am excited to see what it will mean and what it will look like to not indulge and to see the freedom that it gives me to be fully alive in Christ. I also have a desire to end some generational wounds and sin surrounding alcohol in my family. With hope ,I shall fully rely and depend on what God has for me during the upcoming weeks.
February 25, 2009 @ 1:29 pm
I just feel inspired. Thanks friends. So good to be on this journey with you and thankful to have people around me who desire to keep it real.
March 3, 2009 @ 12:23 pm
I’ve enjoyed reading these posts, particularly the ones that discuss giving up alcohol for lent. I stopped drinking about 18 months ago. Alcohol can be a soul stealer.
I’d like to start participating in the prayer meetings at the church. I don’t know what ‘compline’ means, but I like the sound of it.