I’ve written about this before, but I thought it worth saying again (especially as the Archbishop of Canterbury has made the same point on Facebook recently!) Every year at the beginning of Lent I see numerous Facebook posts about what people are planning to give up for Lent.
Some give up chocolate, but the idea of giving up chocolate for a few weeks only to binge on Easter Sunday doesn’t make much sense to me. Others give up alcohol, and there’s probably value in exercising self-discipline to make sure we’re not dependent on it. Others give up social media, and a couple of years ago the Telegraph published a list of the 45 most popular things to give up for Lent.
I have to confess that I struggle with this approach. Giving up particular things for a short time is probably helpful for our self-control, our well-being, or might help the world around us by reducing our comsumption. But if we just go back to normal at the end of it we don’t achieve anything lasting. If we believe we sacrifice to align ourselves with Jesus, I think we have our priorities very wrong if we think that giving up chocolate for a few weeks bears any resemblance to the sacrifice Jesus made. All of this makes me very uneasy with the “so what are you giving up for Lent?” approach.
At Community Church Tadley our approach is rather different and I’d like to suggest another way. Rather than giving up something short-term, why not try setting up a habit that will build you up in the longer term? Some of my suggestions would be:
I’m sure you get the idea by now! Surely it’s far better to do something positive and to develop a good habit that will draw you closer to God than simply to give up something and then carry on as normal after Easter. Of course, you can do both if you like!
Choose from any of the many different activities, events and meetings we participate in either as a part of our church, or with other churches in Tadley, or with the broader community
There are many ways to engage with us, just as there are many ways in which to connect with Jesus through His Church. Get in touch, or connect through social media. Better still, come to one of the many events coming up.