The season of Lent is upon us. Is it the white stuff that gets on our clothes? No, it is not something that gets on us, but in us. What is Lent? It is a time of preparation. Christians prepare themselves to receive the blessing of Easter afresh.
On the first day of Lent, in the middle ages, the priest would call the church to self-denial. Knowing before hand this was coming, the laity began having a time of Celebration on Tuesday now known as Shrove Tuesday—Fat Tuesday—a day of celebration—carnival (Mardi Gras) before the act of self-denial began.
During the season of Lent, the penitents would refrain from sweets, or meat, or anything that was pleasing to them, as a sacrifice. This sacrifice would be a constant reminder of what Jesus the Christ had done for them. It was a time of serious introspection into one’s own soul!
This year I would like to call us at First United Methodist Church to self-denial as well. Instead of, however, giving up something that is pleasing to us let us sacrifice something that is unpleasing—even detrimental to us or God’s Kingdom. If we are prone to be negative, let us put the negativity away and replace it with a more positive attitude. If given to complaining, dispense of it and find things to compliment and celebrate. If taken to gossip, either remain silent or replace it with things that build up others. If we are an angry bird driver, maybe give way with courtesy. If you have a bad habit, give that up for Lent. You get the idea.
Let us this year give away just one of thing that might keep us from being whom and what God would have us be.