Thursday, March 10, 2011

A baptist girl's take on Lent

I was raised as strict a baptist girl as you can get.  Lent was something that I vaguely knew happened in the Catholic church. It involved mysterious ashes, and I'm quite sure that there was some sort of whispered explanation about "Oh that's something for catholics, we don't do that."

So when my coworker, who is a nondenominational girl that is crazy about Jesus, asked me what I was giving up for Lent, I gave her a blank look and said, "Uh, I'm not catholic, I'm baptist." Then we both laughed and I thought, "Far be it from a baptist to give up anything, much less say no to food in any shape or form."

My inquisitive mind would not let it go, I began to research. Where did Lent come from?  Is there some doctrinal issue that would make it wrong for me to observe Lent?  Why would I want to give up something for 40 days?  Does it bring you closer to God to fast from something in your life?

I found some interesting things about Lent.  It is recognition and celebration of the crucifixtion and resurrection of Jesus.   Noel Piper, from Desiring God gives this great description of Ash Wednesday, and Lent.  Please go here to read it.

So, I decided that this baptist girl would see what happens when I purposefully lay aside something that would require a bit of a sacrifice on my part, so that I could have a daily reminder of the sacrifice that God gave me in His Son, Jesus. Oh, there's no comparison, but yet, there is a  daily reminder of the forty days Jesus spent battling Satan and sharing deep fellowship with the Father in the desert.  There is a somber reminder of the cost of disobedience as the children of Israel wandered in the wilderness.

By marking the forty days until I celebrate His life giving resurrection, I stop and think about His great sacrifice. By disciplining myself, I refocus on Christ.  By allowing myself to stop and ponder,"Why did Christ have to die?" I find the answer is worth pondering.

He became sin
Who knew no sin
That we might become
His righteousness.


sjm64 said...

Practicing Lent since I was a kid; (once I gave up marshmellows)....but most of the time it was favorite food! To give sacrifice,a food seems so small compared to Calvary..but then everything is small compared to Calvary. So for what it's worth, I too have "given up something".

Bridget said...

This Baptist girl loves Lent,too.

So does my Baptist-turned-Methodist blog friend, Dawn. You must go read her Lenten posts:

Those are my favorite things I've read recently!

Dawn said...

Stephanie, I love this post. Wednesday was my first Ash Wednesday to ever participate in-- (P.S., I actually grew up Church of Christ, so you can imagine the sort of surreal nature of finding myself getting ashes in the sign of the cross. I think the idea of setting things down to prepare ourselves for both service and blessing is a beautiful faith tradition.

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