Is Lent All About Giving Stuff Up?
If you’re anything like me, when you think about Lent the first thing that comes to your mind is giving something up. Fasting is what I most associate with the period of 40 days that lead up to Easter weekend. But, in recent years I’ve come to realise that traditionally Lent was equally focused on alms-giving. Alms-giving is the practice of giving things away, donating to charity and giving to those who are poor and in need.
Father Fulton J. Sheen said:
“We can think of Lent as a time to eradicate evil or cultivate virtue, a time to pull up weeds or to plant good seeds. Which is better is clear, for the Christian ideal is always positive rather than negative. As we deflate ourselves, God fills us. And it is God’s arrival that is the important event.”
Let’s be honest, what is likely to have more impact on the world around us, giving up sweets or coffee? Or, taking up the challenge to actively love our neighbours, to pray intentionally, to give away our possessions to those who need them and to extend the greatest invitation they’ll ever receive, into a relationship with Jesus?
“Make sure you don’t take things for granted and go slack in working for the common good; share what you have with others. God takes particular pleasure in acts of worship—a different kind of “sacrifice”—that take place in kitchen and workplace and on the streets.” Hebrews 13:16 The Message (MSG)
That’s the heart of Church Army’s Being Salt & Light series which was born out of a community of people who see Lent as an opportunity for service and evangelism. Being Salt & Light encourages us to take things up, not give them up. As we do so, we’ll see God’s love pouring out into the homes, streets, and lives around us, so that other people can know him.
Did you know you can join in with Being Salt & Light? Join a group of people this Lent who’re pursuing Jesus and wanting others to know His goodness…