Giving Up or Giving More for Lent?

by Eileen Gilmer, Associate Pastor

Eileen Gilmer, Associate Pastor
Eileen Gilmer, Associate Pastor

We are well into the Lenten season. These forty days (minus Sundays) that lead up to Easter are to prepare our hearts and minds for the magnitude of the Messiah. Easter is what makes Christians, well, Christians. We will celebrate this Jesus who lived and taught, died and rose. And, it is what transpired in those three decades from birth to resurrection and beyond that is so astounding. Even those close friends who would carry on his teachings didn’t fully grasp it all right away.

What are we, as 2015 followers of The Way, to do this Lent? Maybe you grew up understanding that Lent was a time to give something up. It’s a somber season of self-denial. We must suffer in our own little way, just as Jesus had to suffer in a much greater way. That’s what many of us were taught. Is that really what God wants from us?

I absolutely believe that Lent serves as a great opportunity for reflection. But, does giving up chocolate or television lead us closer to God? Maybe. I prefer to think doing more, not less, can help us grow in that understanding of God’s grace and overwhelming, loving sacrifice.

Here’s what I mean: Consider making this Lenten season about truly serving others. Write a note to someone who could use a kind word. Don’t check email for an entire Saturday, and instead spend time with someone who needs your undivided attention. Look someone in the eye as you pass by on the street and say hello. Find something each day that takes you out of your comfort zone and puts you squarely in the midst of God’s mercy to get through it. Go to God in prayer … and then listen.

I look forward to worshipping with you. Please know, you are always in my prayers.