I wonder what will be different about this Lent from all the others in which I’ve participated. I remember my dad suggesting I take on something not just give up something. I tried to do both but I’m pretty sure I didn’t challenge myself. By that I mean really give up something important like morning coffee, or really take on something like cooking and delivering a meal every day to someone in need. I smile and whatever example I come up with. One of the points of giving up something is to remember God, which I would definitely do without coffee. But that’s just the start. The bigger point is to hear what God wants me to take on.
One of the scriptures read on Ash Wednesday is Isaiah 58:1-12. The prophet talks about selfish reasons we fast, and then the Lord goes on to say:
Is not this the fast that I choose; to loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the hopeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover them, and not to hide yourself from your own kin? Then your light shall break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up quickly; your vindicator shall go before you, the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard. Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer, you shall cry for help, and he will say, Here I am (Isaiah 58:6-9).
I am still questioning the giving up and taking on aspect of Lent. Maybe
what’s important right now is the question not the answer.