Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Lent and Discipleship:
“So What Are You Giving Up For Lent?”

The practice of choosing something to give up during the 40 days of Lent has become common throughout the Church. So much so that I have often heard it compared to making a New Year’s resolution. I think there is a crucial difference between making a New Year’s resolution and struggling with a Lenten discipline. When we make a New Year’s resolution it is undeniably about ourselves. To be sure, losing weight or volunteering more are worthy endeavors, but sometimes we do these things for no other reason than to feel better about ourselves. Lenten disciplines, on the other hand, should focus on our spiritual lives. As Christians, focus on our spiritual lives should mean that the focus is off of us and on God and our relationship with Him.
That is right; the goal of a Lenten discipline should be increased closeness to the God whose voluntary suffering and self-denial for our sakes we remember during this season. So, before you decide to give up pizza or videogames for Lent I encourage you to ask yourselves, “in what ways will eliminating pizza from my diet or my favorite game from my daily schedule bring me closer to God?” You may find that more important than what you lose is what you gain. The time that would be filled with video games can be filled with more praying or Bible reading. The money that isn’t being spent on pizza can in turn be given to charity or added to your support of the ministry of Christ Hamilton.
What it boils down to is that Lent is a time in the Church year where we pay more attention to what it means to be a disciple. Discipleship is about self-denial to the extent that disciples make their own will secondary to the will of God. You may have heard it said in this way; “I must decrease so Christ can increase”. I hope and pray that our lives of discipleship are nurtured by the decisions we make this Lent.
- Pr. Matt for
The Stewardship Committee

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