Thursday, March 31, 2005

Reflections on my Lenten fast

Lent is the period of 40 days leading up to Easter Sunday, a season in which Christians traditionally give something important to them up, as a sign of commitment before God, a time for a bit of a spiritual clean up in the period leading up to one of the most important events on the Christian calendar, Easter.

I chose to give up alcohol and TV, which was no easy task! But a great exercise. Neither was a great inconvenience, although it was particulalrly hard missing the Simpsons!!

The TV one was done just because I realised how much of a waste of time most TV is, and I thought there's plenty of other better things I could do with my life.

The alcohol one was a bit more important. I haven't been drunk in ages, and am pretty much in control of how much I drink these days, so its not like its something I needed to do to get myself off it, or that it was a problem. It was more a test of priorities for me.

I kinda thought 'Well if I can't not drink, then its too much of a priority in my life, and could become a problem' so I set myself a challenge.

A challenge which, I unfortunately did not completely stick to. I was at a mates 21st, and there was nothing else there decent to drink, so I had a can, and the other time was a decision not to refuse somebodys hospitality. A week into it I went sailing with a mate, and the owner of the boat asked if I wanted a beer, and I said no, and I think he really took that as almost an insult. Its funny, for Aussie blokes, buying somebody a beer is such a sign of hospitality, and its almost rude to refuse. Its like when you're at a mates for dinner and his Mum won't take no for an answer for seconds, and you almost have to eat it out of courtesy.

Although I didn't really pass my challenge, I don't feel I've failed it either, if that makes sense?
Its not like I was hanging out for a beer so bad and couldn't resist that I just had one (although it was getting pretty hard by Good Friday!), so in that sense I proved to myself I was able to give it up for something more important.

A great challenge, through which I learnt quite a lot about myself if nothing else. Not sure if I could do the internet like Gaz did, but maybe my reluctance to do so is a sign that I need to do that next year...


John Dekker said...

I'm thinking about giving up TV next year. This year it was coffee.

I guess the main reason was, I was worried I was getting addicted to the stuff. I needed to take a break from it.

But Lent goes deeper than that, surely. We give up what is ours by right in order to remind ourselves that Jesus didn't cling to his rights, but poured himself out for us. So I tried to think about what Jesus has done for me whenever I felt like having a coffee.

Digger said...

Yeah you're right, it shouldn't just be giving up something cos you've had enough of it or whatever. The issue is one of priorities, and whether you're prepared to put your spirituality ahead of your other concerns.

Garth said...

I think you know from one of my earlier posts that I don't go in for Lent per se. But I wouldn't deprive anyone of it either. I think our calling is to take up the cross daily, or to die daily as a lifestyle rather than the structured approach with Lent.

Part of my indifference to Lent traditions is wrapped up in a personal reaction to religious traditions in general and the ease with which they can become more 'routine' than 'real'.

Ofcourse they have the possibility of achieving much when approached with authentic zeal. I respect your Lent approach so this is more a comment about me than anyone else.

Rivett said...

I was always told that during lent you should give up stuff and feel guilty whenever you wanted it, then pray harder for forgiveness.

But isn't it more about understanding crucifixion in order to celebrate resurrection.

"Beer! My resurrection!" not quite but you get my meaning.

Digger said...

Yeah I think for me Garth having not grown up with heaps of the traditions its really cool at the moment looking into them, and finding the meaning behind them.

I do agree that we are called to take up our cross daily, but I guess Lent is just a more focused time of that.

So Pete you're saying that the purpose of Lent is more to try to understand the concept of crucifixion, of dying to self for the sake of others, so that we can know more about what it is to move on from that-to celebrate resurrection?

Sarah L said...

so, next year, wat r u gonna give up????

Digger said...

Dunno yet Sarah, i'll keep ya posted. I reckon next year I'm gonna encourage thge whole church to get involved, it'd be wicked as!

BTW, thanks for commenting and referring all your friends Sare!

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