Looking at Forty Days

It is now the Lenten season. As a Christian I observe this next 7 weeks (40 days) as a time of reflection and preparation for Easter. The tradition is for fasting, prayer and alms giving. Part of the tradition for Lent is to “give up” something. The idea is that we should give up an item or a practice that distracts or separates us from God. Children often give up some candy or other food. Adults also give up foods. Although that can help us focus on being in solidarity with those less fortunate it should be something that will actually make a difference. For instance, if you are allergic to chocolate and never eat it for fear of having to use the epi-pen, then setting your Lenten fast as giving up chocolate is not really a fast! Like wise if you decide to give up, say, dairy and the result is putting yourself into a state of malnutrition, dangerous weight loss, or fostering unhealthy eating habits then it is counterproductive! Many people have outgrown the “giving up food” for Lent path. Instead they vow to give up a variety of things including:
Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/Snapchat
Television
Smart phones
Smoking
Pornography
Politics
Cursing/profanity
Breaking the speed limit
Sports
Movies
Hot showers (obviously not from these parts!)
Car radio
Well, you get the idea. Another option to giving up is to add activities:
Smile and say hello to at least one stranger a day
Read the Bible daily
Perform one random act of kindness every opportunity
Pay for someone’s meal
Volunteer
Visit a nursing home
Shovel the snow for a neighbor

I am doing a daily devotional with my husband. We have sworn off buffet restaurants. We are fasting from meat on Fridays. I’m purging my closets and drawers (this is really a hard thing to do). And I’m giving up a game I play on my phone called Wordscapes which I find highly addictive. We also are providing non-perishable items for the food bank weekly and putting all our loose change into the “rice bowl” to benefit missions in Asia.

How are you preparing for Easter??

19 thoughts on “Looking at Forty Days

  1. These are some very good ideas, suggestions, and plans for fasting in ways that aren’t limited to food. Though, personally, I think giving up Wordscapes for a time might be a bit extreme! 🙂

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  2. I’m trying to read my Bible, pray and meditate more. I’m not about to give up hot showers! I had to give them up sometimes in Africa and that was hard enough in a warm climate. I do thank God every time I take one though.

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  3. Does a sojourn in the wilderness for four days, without showers count? Maybe we don’t need to give something up as much as we need to isolate ourselves from our daily grind, be still, and contemplate our blessings.

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    1. I suppose communing with nature works. I think the idea is that when you “give up” an activity you replace it with prayer or some such spiritual pursuit.

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    1. Glad to know the suggestions are worthy. I enjoyed you Lent Lite post! I’d have to agree that giving up oxygen is really hardcore! Yes it is strange in that I will soon be off the hook for fasting due to age. Sparky and I have a difference of opinion on fasting. I think of it as zero food and he falls into the skip breakfast and just nibble for lunch with a regular meal after dark…

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  4. I did good work observing Lent last year, and this year am thus far doing exactly nothing, although I did accept a spot on the vestry, which is a two-year commitment, so there is that. Not exactly a Lenten discipline, though. Your list is admirable. I’ve about concluded I’m on the two-year plan for all liturgical observances, including Christmas. And Lent. I do like the idea of taking something on, and have toyed with that in the past. I have taken on daily radishes and celery for snacking in lieu of the delicious, fatty Greek yogurt I love, although I hope to make that a rawther more permanent discipline. And I have taken on Vermont winter. There. :-/

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  5. That’s an awesome list for lent. We don’t celebrate Lenten so we continue to do our daily things..though I’m wanting to add in a specific prayer time for S and me..Think I’ll do that. 😉

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  6. Those are good ideas , Val , to pass the Lent . I went to Ash wednesday and I follow the ways of creoss in our parish
    And I clean my blood thre times per week at the hospital .
    Thanks for this post
    Love ❤

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    1. Not that dialysis is a light matter – but I imagine having clean blood and a clear conscience is the point of Lent in bringing us closer to God. I hope your Lenten observance is a good one!

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    1. Thanks! So far so good – but the test will be coming since it gets harder as Lent progresses.. Kind of like the New Year’s resolutions – you start off strong and fizzle after awhile. I’m not a quitter so I intend to last the 40 days!

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