The other day a reader of mine, told me she would not be reading my column for a month till Easter, “Why?” I asked her, quite surprised, wondering if I’d written something the season of Lent did not lend itself to.
“Because I’m giving up WhatsApp for Lent!” she said, and I gave a sigh of relief.
Quite a feat though, considering the messaging app has literally become a huge way of communication. However, this little episode made me ponder on what would be ideal to give up and why do we give up anything during these forty days, considering that many religious leaders have even gone to the point of giving silly opinions about what this ‘giving up’ attitude should be.
So, here’s my two-penny bit:
What we give up during this period when our minds should be concentrating on the Lord giving up His life, is our pleasure!
To be able to experience the deep thoughts of Lent, we give up some pleasure, which time, we put into meditating on deeper spiritual matters.
Which made me wonder, what I attained when I meditated on such deeper matters.
Did I go through a period of pain as I reflected? Did I feel sad and depressed? Was I supposed to feel sad and depressed? I doubt the good Lord wants us to go through depression.
So, here I’ve given up a bit of pleasure, and what exactly do I fill myself with? What fits into this vacuum I’ve just created?
And my thoughts go to why that Son of Man allowed himself to die on the cross? Why would a God sacrifice himself? He did, so I could get closer to Him, right? That I could walk with Him, talk with Him, right? In other words, what my mind should be reflecting about is the joy I feel that I can now commune with God without my wickedness getting in the way!
Which means I have exchanged pleasure for joy!
Which means ‘giving up’ is no sacrifice at all on my part, but just an ‘exchange’ for something better!
I see friends of mine giving up their bottle of whisky and counting the days for Easter, when as in their own words, they can get, ‘sloshed!’
What a waste of a ‘giving up’!
The real reason should be that the pleasure of a glass of spirits has been replaced by the joy of a spiritual awakening, a time which does not require an alcoholic high with a hangover next day, but a spiritual high that lasts forever: A forty day period which is the beginning of a lifetime of Lent!
Like I said, these are not theological thoughts, but my own reflections, and maybe this year during Lent, you won’t sigh as you think of the sacrifice you’ve made but rejoice over the exchanging of your momentary pleasure for long lasting joy..!
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