In the early days of the church, those preparing to be baptized on Easter morning went through a 40 day fasting and purification period to prepare for their baptism. They mimicked Christ’s time in the desert by spending 40 days drawing closer to God. Often the church would accompany those planning to be baptized in their time of purification as an act of unity. Today, we still celebrate the 40 days preceding Easter as the Lenten period and many denominations and Christians practice some sort self- deprivation during this time, but the deprivation has taken on a form of New Year’s Eve Resolution more so than purification.
During lent, many of us have been brought up with the idea of giving something up, of depriving ourselves of some pleasure during the Lenten period as a way of fasting like Jesus did. But Christ didn’t deprive himself of pleasure, he deprived himself of necessities. And the early Christians didn’t deprive themselves of soda, they separated themselves to spend individual time with God.
Last week’s blog challenged readers to spend time listening for the Holy Spirit and God’s voice. As we continue to move toward that goal let’s keep in mind that Lent is more than a New Year’s Resolution to lose 10 lbs. Lent is a period of drawing closer to Christ as we prepare for celebrating that He is Risen! Let’s reflect on what we have given up for Lent, and remember the ultimate goal is not to avoid chocolate for 40 days, but to draw ever nearer to Christ. So pick up a devotional, open your Bible, or as Bonnie said spend time quietly waiting for God’s voice during this Lenten season.
By Tim Tammen