He is risen!
Lent has been difficult for me this year, and it's only been four days! In the past, I just fasted on my own, because I really like that brothers and sisters all over the world have set apart this time to reflect and draw closer to God. I like that we're all fasting at the same time, it's sort of heaven-like. I didn't do it last year because it would've been works: mostly tradition and very little God.
This year, however, has been different. I've been doing more research, and trying to figure out what is biblical, what is purely tradition, what is worthwhile, and what is distracting. God has led me to give up a lot more than usual, and has been using my struggling to blatantly show me how much I need Him (which is the point!).
One thing I've been particularly struggling with has been whether or not to tell people I'm observing Lent. I realize, of course, that posting this means that I'm telling anyone who wishes to read it, but this isn't exactly what I mean. For example, if I'm continually offered something that I'm fasting from to the point of annoyance, do I tell the person in question that I'm fasting? Is that being like the Pharisees? I'm still not sure. Plus, Lent is a touchy issue for some people, and I really don't want to be offensive. I don't know how to handle this, but I'm sure that in the next 36 days God will make it clear!
In other news, as I've been picking apart the tradition, I came across this not-fasting-on-Sunday thing. I knew about it before, but ignored it, because I generally don't pay much attention to Catholic holy days. I thought it was an excuse to break fast like eating fish on Friday, but I never looked into the matter to see if I was right.
This morning, however, when I went to read my little lenten Bible reading plan, it had a note that said that Sunday is usually skipped because it's like a mini Easter. I'm sure this isn't news to any of ye, but I was a little surprised when I looked into it. I hadn't thought about the fact that every Sunday should be Easter Sunday for the believer. Really, every day should be lived as a celebration of Christ's Resurrection, but especially Sunday. I knew that, but I hadn't thought about it in relation to Lent.
I really struggled with knowing how to approach this. I don't want to be quick to toss aside self-denial when I get the opportunity, but if there's a good reason to break fast on Sunday, then just like the other traditions, I'll go for it. Today I did, and I feel completely at peace. I also wasn't put in many positions to break the fast anyway, so it won't be as difficult to go back tomorrow.
This morning we shared the Lord's Supper, and it really was almost like Easter, or at least Good Friday. I'm beginning to understand why certain branches of the Church have observed Lent for so long. Sure, it can easily be turned into an issue of attempting to gain righteousness through works and self-denial. But it can also be something beautiful that points to the cross and Christ and the incomprehensible mercy and glory of God! Yes, it's difficult, but really in the end it's only zooming in on the daily difficulty of the Christian life (John Piper had a fantastic post on this subject yesterday. You can read it HERE).
Hopefully this has been beneficial to you in some way. It's strange knowing that there are people reading this blog now. I feel like every post is inadequate. But if it glorifies God somehow, it'll do.
Love and Peace,
P.S. I'll probably be bugging you with another Texas-related post soon. I get to go back soon! Huzzah!