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Thoughts on Lent by Jeff Buscher

When I think of the sacrifice that Christ made for us, I’m humbled beyond description, and so when I consider the Christian tradition of giving something up for Lent, I’m overwhelmed. I think to myself, “What small sacrifice on my part even begins to reflect the sacrificial love demonstrated by our Lord?” Please hear me; I am not suggesting this practice is futile, rather I am saying that its all in the meaning we attach to this reflective time of thoughtfulness and preparation.

In my search for meaning for this season, I went back to the teachings of Saint Francis of Assisi. Saint Francis’ powerful conversion caused him to abandon a comfortable lifestyle and live a life of humility, simplicity, and contemplation. His life continues to inspire believers today. Lent was one of Saint Francis’ favorite times of the Christian year. In fact, he practiced two other times of forty-day periods throughout the rest of the year to continue the practices of purposeful reflection, sacrifice and prayer. As I think about Lent, I am more comfortable realizing that maybe this time of thoughtful sacrifice, might lead us toward a more permanent lifestyle change that brings us closer to the life Jesus would want us to live.

An example that rings true for me is the realization of our cultural setting of capitalism, consumerism, commercialism, free enterprise, call it what you want. Because this way of life is so central to our society, it makes sense that the idea of giving something up for Lent comes across as a step in a spiritual direction. As I think of my life-journey on a larger scale, could I give something up permanently, instead of giving something up for Lent? By taking steps to simplify our lives, we unclutter our immediate surroundings and create space for the things that are spiritually significant: our relationship with God, with persons and with God’s creation.    



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