I was more than a little surprised this week when Johanna came sweeping into the room and declared, “I forgot it’s ash Wednesday! What am I going to give up for Lent?!”
The ex-Catholic in me bristled at this and my internal legalism siren went off like an air raid in my head.
Now, I know Johanna well enough to know that whether she chooses to give something up for lent or not, it’s not because she believes she has to… as if by not doing it, she’d be in sin or not a “good Christian” or losing some of her righteousness-earning brownie points with God. In other words, she’s by no means fallen victim to the teaching in which I was raised. So then, what? I imagine she does it with 1 Corinthians 10:31 in mind. Because she wants to, not because she needs to.
In processing all this, it occurs to me that I’ve never heard of anyone “giving up something for Lent” who wasn’t Catholic. Some part of me sneers at the idea… too muddled up with flashbacks of the weekly Friday night fish fry and bingo after mass. Of course, it doesn’t help that I detest sea food, gambling, and legalistic bondage. But the rest of me recognizes that there’s freedom in Christ. And observing lent doesn’t have to be a yoke of slavery, but an act of free and reverent love for my Savior who gave up his very life for me.
So – how do you observe the 40 days leading up to Christ’s death and resurrection?
Music: Nataly Dawn – “Do What You Want”