What Would Jesus Give Up?

It’s Ash Wednesday and Lent is here.   Did you finish your paczkis? (and can I buy a vowel?)  Good thing because Lent is traditionally the time of self denial – no more calorie and fat laden jelly donuts for you.

Lent is, oddly enough, one of my favorite times of the year.  You can keep Christmas and its obnoxious, commercial hype.  I’ll take Lent complete with the hope of spring and the true meaning of Christianity. 

A little known fact about me is that I went to a Catholic church for a little over five years.   I actually converted from being Lutheran to Catholicism, which is a story for another blog post (if you’re really interested, which you’re probably not). 

Anyhow, I always found the idea of self denial during Lent rather fascinating.  Lutherans, from what I can tell, aren’t terribly interested in this concept.  Nor are they interested in food choices on certain days of the week during Lent.  No Lutheran fears retribution after eating  steak on a Friday in Lent.   Along with confession, that apparently went by the wayside.

Catholics, on the other hand, do find self-sacrifice to be important and it’s one thing that left quite an impression on me.

I’m not terribly good at giving up things that mean a lot to me.  Or, maybe more important, make my life easier.  I think I’d wander around like a lost puppy if my cell phone was taken away.  Or, heaven forbid, my WordPress or Gmail accounts were cancelled. 

However, these aren’t things that are luxuries – I need my cell phone to keep in contact with my family, my email account is one of the only ways I have human contact with other adults, and if I couldn’t blog I would yell at people.  We just cannot have that going on.

I once gave up swearing for Lent and then decided that I probably shouldn’t give up something that I shouldn’t be doing in the first place.

I have wondered why would God care if I gave anything up in self-sacrifice to imitate Jesus wandering in the desert?  OF COURSE he was able to deny himself for 40 days – he was GOD.  Though I truly try, I will never be able to follow his act.

So, this year, instead of giving anything up, I am going to try perform random acts of kindness.  I really don’t have anything special planned, but I think that it will come to me when the need presents itself.  It appears that there is plenty of need for kindness this year too. 

When I think of it, isn’t that what would Jesus would do?  Wishing you peace today.

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4 thoughts on “What Would Jesus Give Up?

  1. I’m the last person to talk about religion, but I have to say that from my perspective, you’re right on the mark. From my understanding, Christianity is supposed to be about the giving and the helping and the seeing an opportunity to make the world better and doing something with it. Go you!

  2. I once had a priest tell me that Lent is not always about “giving something up”. Sometimes, it can be about doing something differently. Maybe it just means trying to spend 40 days focusing on displaying gratitude, or just limiting self-criticism, or volunteering at a soup kitchen to see if that’s the best way to give of yourself to others or if there are other ways. I like that idea.. ( I just read Anne’s comment…so, yeah, what Anne said!).

    But I can’t lie. I’m giving up junk food. LOL The old standby.

    FYI – Ash Wednesday is not a Holy Day of obligation. But Catholics flock to the day like no other. As a practicing Catholic and as an Arab, I find it odd. For instance, some Muslims wear hajib – the head scarf. Catholics (and Christians) have no such immediately distinctive outward expression of faith such as that…and so the one day that they can have that, they run to it. It’s interesting, isn’t it?

  3. After giving up what was bad for me (my one glass of wine an evening, or choice of hard limeade instead), I agree with this wholeheartedly. After all, the one glass was supposed to be good for me and I had the attitude it was bad for me! And, after all, what was the first miracle Jesus performed; he knew what was necessary, change that water to wine ASAP! I know Jesus would approve.

    Instead of giving up the margarita I only had when I went out, next year I’m giving out or putting out instead. Homeless shelters, here I come! Thanks for the inspiration to keep me mellow during Lent. I needed that!

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