Friday, February 22, 2008

Lent, Part II

If you've been reading along, you know that it's Lent, and that Lent is shaping my world. One of the traditional practices of Lent is fasting. As it turns out, "fasting" is a pretty broad term. I know folks who have given up various things for this 40-day period, such as computer games, chocolate, Facebook, newspapers, or desserts. Two things have particularly stood out for me in my Lenten fast this year.

The first is that giving up caffeinated beverages is harder than I'd expected. After all, I don't even like the taste of coffee unless it's seriously diluted by milk and flavoring. But sipping hot tea on my way to Salt Lake in the mornings, or stopping at Toni's coffee shop for a flavored latte, has been a much-enjoyed part of my routine. I'd heard rumors that fasting is a reminder in part because it interrupts our daily lives and therefore requires us to think about what we do in those everyday lives, and it's true.

The second thing caught my attention on Ash Wednesday as I thought about the start of this season. It's from Ephesians 4: "You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness." Just as fasting creates an odd feeling of something being absent in my routines during this season, I want to fill that sense of vacuum with Christ. And as I do that, I consider what in my life gets in the way of true relationship with God and should be discarded permanently.

I am thankful for Lent.

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