Day Five: The Day of The Lord

“I am fasting from Facebook for Lent.” So read my friend’s Facebook status last spring . . . for about two weeks . . . until she started using Facebook again.

Ah, the perils of announcing one’s Lenten fast!

I’ve only been giving up things for Lent for the past few years. As a dyed-in-the-wool evangelical, I never heard about Lent growing up—I didn’t even really know what it was until high school when I spent the night at the home of a Catholic friend. During dinner, her dad enthusiastically passed the broccoli. He then conspiratorially whispered to me: “I gave up broccoli for Lent!”

“Broccoli?” I asked.

“Yes, I hate it.”

He went on to explain that every year he fasted from broccoli; dietarily speaking, Lent was his favorite time of year. He gave himself “40 days off” from eating the despised green veggie his wife so often prepared. My friend’s dad shared the view that many in our culture have of Lent: a time to give up something you don’t like very much anyway. Others view it as a time to try really, really hard to break a bad habit or, better yet, to give up sweets in order to lose weight. It’s a Survivor-like self-control contest: can you make it 40 whole days without drinking Diet Coke, eating chocolate or, ah-hem, checking Facebook?

But Lent is meant to be much more than a muscle contest for the will. Rather, through fasting and focus, Lent helps us to enter into close communion with Jesus as we ponder our sinfulness and the grace coming at Calvary. Many are rediscovering the spiritual richness of this ancient tradition.

As we celebrate together the faith that we share in the living Christ, please remember that this season of reflection and repentance is more than broccoli, chocolate, or Facebook. It is about building our personal relationship with the Jesus and others in the community of faith, and using those relationships to make the Kingdom of God a reality right here, right now.

—K. Trujillio, March 10, 2019

Jay Horton