Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Why I am observing Lent

It’s been trendy in recent years to write and share articles about why Lent is really rubbish and why not to observe it.

And there’s a lot of good wisdom there, that you can glean from the likes of Dan Hames (at the time of writing, I can’t find his annually posted article!*) and James Cary.

But I differ, and without telling you what I’m doing, I’ll tell you why I’m doing it.

1)    It’s a historic Christian tradition. Tradition is not necessarily a bad thing. Dry, heartless religiosity is no good but good traditions and structures shape us in helpful ways.
2)    I am in more danger of lawlessness than legalism. Our culture, as a whole, is certainly the same. You may be morbidly introspective, and Lent may not be helpful to you. But that’s not me.
3)    I can commit periods of my life to losing weight, training for runs, and improving my chess or guitar skills – why on earth would I not work on my walk with God?
4)    Lent and joy are not incompatible. Jesus wants those who fast to be joyful as if they weren’t. Even more so on Sundays, which trump fasts anyway.
5)    Jesus expected his followers to fast. If not Lent, when? When’s better?
6)    Other people are fasting. So Lent, done right, is corporate faith, not individualistic piety.

Anyway, that’s why I’m observing Lent this year. Call me out if I go on about it.

*Incidentally, the Dan Hames liturgical blogpost calendar goes:
Feb/March: Why no Lent
Sometime in Autumn, I forget when: Happy birthday Jesus
Oct 31st: Something Reformationy
Advent: The lyrics of Come Thou Long Expected Jesus

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