So honestly, I can’t remember a time I ever really participated in Lent by ‘giving up’ something. I do usually make a point of really considering and reflecting on Jesus in various ways, but I don’t give up something specific for 40 days. And as the years have progressed, I have often wondered what the point of Lent is according to the people who observe it. The definition according to Wikipedia is: Lent, in Christian tradition, is the period of the liturgical year leading up to Easter. The traditional purpose of Lent is the preparation of the believer — through prayer, penitence, almsgiving and self-denial — for the annual commemoration during Holy Week of the Death and Resurrection of Jesus, which recalls the events linked to the Passion of Christ and culminates in Easter, the celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
So Lent is supposed to be a sacred time to remember the sacrifice of Jesus. Instead it has become an opportunity for the question “So what are you giving up?” The fact that this is a topic of conversation makes me absolutely crazy. Lent has become a time of prideful boasting instead of reflection. It’s become a joke to a lot of people too. If you Google “lent” and scroll down just a bit, you’ll see all the current twitter messages about it.
Matthew 6:16-18 says “When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” Based on the Scriptural teachings of fasting, people publicly fasting are also not going to get any kind of lasting reward! We shouldn’t fast as a means to get rewarded, but if you’re going to do it and are promised a reward if you keep your mouth shut, it would be wise to follow the guidelines given to us by the One we’re fasting for.
Anyway, all of that is to say that Blood:Water Mission has a 40 Days of Water event starting today. A friend and I get coffee every week, and we’ve decided to participate in this and move our coffee dates to our homes for dinner instead so we can donate the money we saved at the end of the 40 Days. I hope you’ll join our efforts to continue building wells in poor countries so people can have the clean water they need to live.