I was talking to my two great Nephews the other day, one age 6 and one age 4, on the meaning of Lent. I was quite surprised to find that the older child had given up technology; he told me he was going to stop using any type of computer game. How time has moved on since we were children, there were no phones or computer games then. We played out with friends and it didn’t matter what the weather was like we just used to wrap up and carry on. I couldn’t imagine any of us giving up our play time. So I thought how amazing this is for a 6 year old boy to give up something that most children spend their time doing. So I asked my Nephew what he was going to do with all this time he would have spare, there was a look of confusion before the younger boy said ‘I’m giving up chocolate’.
A week later when I caught up with my Nephew’s again I wasn’t too surprised to see computer games in their hands. Hey I asked ‘I thought you were giving this up for Lent’. The older boy said he had changed his mind and was now giving up chocolate instead. I asked what are you going to do with all the chocolate you are not eating, both shouted at once ‘giving it to the poor’.
I would imagine most people who give up something for Lent often choose chocolate. I am no different as for many years this was the thing I chose to abstain from. I wonder how many people actually make it through this period without succumbing to temptation.
From well before Ash Wednesday, which is the start of Lent, there has been temptation everywhere. The shops are full of chocolate and Easter eggs which usually are at the end of nearly every aisle. Even our Church has held a chocolate bingo evening and raffle with the main prize being a chocolate hamper.
By the time this messenger reaches you we will be most of the way through Lent, and hopefully the craving you had for chocolate or whatever else you have given up is passing. The true meaning of Lent is so much more than giving up something though, it is about repenting, reflecting and generally giving your time to do good.
Why not look at the environment instead and think about not using plastic for this period. Or try using your car less or sharing your journey with someone else. There is so much more we can do for this Kingdom we live in. Or spend some time within your community just helping others or talking to someone who is lonely. Giving time and thinking about the world we live in is so much more than just giving up something. God created the world for us to cherish and protect.
I very rarely give up anything for Lent anymore, but I spend my time repenting and reflecting and trying to do good for others. This maybe just spending time with someone in need, or praying for them, or visiting the sick or helping with a Lent course or community group.
Easter is fast approaching, and we shall be celebrating the resurrection or our Lord Jesus Christ. Chocolate will be in abundance, and you can eat as much as you like but remember Easter Eggs represent the empty tomb of our Lord Jesus Christ. The tomb is empty because our saviour rose from the dead.
So let us all celebrate this Easter period together and join in worship throughout Lent, Holy Week and Easter. Bring friends and family to one of our services and help grow this faith and this Church.
Jesus spent forty days and nights in the desert without anything but his thoughts and being tempted by the devil. Do not let our busy lives, our selfishness, our lack of faith forget that Jesus Christ died and rose so we can live to love and serve one another.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” John 3:16
Peace and blessing to you all