Monday, March 06, 2006

A Lenten Protest


Lent is the time when the Church historically observes a period of waiting in the weeks leading up to Easter. This time is to remind us of life before Christ, to encourage us to reevaluate our commitment to God, and to deprive ourselves of some necessity. So this year for Lent I am giving up… nothing.

I am not fasting from anything, I am not conducting extra rituals or spending more time reading the Bible, and I am not quitting any habits. I have followed this portion of the Lenten tradition in the past. Chocolate, caffeine, television, movies, and others have made the list of things I have given up (or attempted to do so) for that very long six weeks. I believe one year I fasted from Starburst jellybeans. But this year is different.

Perfectionism is one of my greatest struggles. It affects and influences my work, studies, relationships, and communion with Christ. I decided that I do not need one more thing for which to seek perfection, another task to make me crazy for fear I will not wholly accomplish it. Giving up anything would at this point induce me to obsess over the work of that fast.

If Lent is meant to further entrench the works mentality and fear of imperfection that I hold so closely, then I will not participate. If wearing an ashen cross on my forehead will equate me to a Pharisee because I desire to flaunt my piety, then I benefit no one from that display. If depriving myself from a pleasure leads me to find a substitution less healthy, then I have really fasted from nothing. If Lent is intended instead to spur believers to practice gratitude for salvation and to observe waiting in hope and expectation, then I will do so.

So in some ways I am giving up something. I am giving up on the suggestion that I need to be or do more than I am to be pleasing to God. I wait and I hope and I offer thanks. But for this year, that is all.

2 comments:

Tmproff said...

I feel the same way. I have given up an extra 30 mins of sleep each morning, but not for the sacrifice. I am taking this time to study the life and death of Christ. I will take a subject matter (for example, I studied John the Baptist this morning) in each of the Gospels every morning. Also, I try to keep a prayerful attitude about what Christ did for us as I walk the halls at work.

I do agree that people take Easter much too lightly. A time you dress up a little nicer for Sunday morning church; a time to see young blissful children look for plastic easter eggs.

Yet it was a time that the Son of God was beaten to a bloody pulp by his own choice. To what purpose? THAT's my Lent this year.

zarasthrsa said...

Makes sense to me Lauran. Too many times Christian doctrine has seemed "life denying" or "punishing of life" rather than affirming or creative of it. A bit too much of the eye offending and needing to be pluckethed out.

Attention to instinct and the "act of becoming" are how I would interpret your protest.