Feb. 14, 2013
Jesus our priest offered one sacrifice for sins for all time. Then he sat down at the right hand of God.
How long is 40 days? It depends. Forty days before you leave on vacation can be a long time. If your child is graduating high school and moving out, it’s not long enough.
Lent is 40 days; 40 days before we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus on Easter Sunday. It can be a long season … or it can go quickly. Why 40 days? It’s biblical. Jesus spent 40 days in the wilderness fasting and praying at the beginning of his ministry. Moses spent 40 days on Mount Sinai with God.
We are told that it takes 21 days to create a new habit. It never fails that on Easter Sunday, I’m excited to eat sweets and candy once again. Whatever I denied myself during Lent, I’m thrilled to put back into my life. So much for getting past the 21 days.
For Protestants, “giving up” something during Lent is not as familiar for us as our Catholic friends. A few years ago, Rick gave up ketchup. For most people, this is not a big deal. For my bottle-a-week husband, it was huge.
A few days ago, Rick warned me. He started Lent early and gave up chewing tobacco. Four years ago, he gave up chewing tobacco at the end of the year/beginning of a new year. A few days later, I left for the Holy Lands. It was time for a little space. While I love my husband dearly, his crabbiness almost drove me to drink! This time around, he quit while at the farm so I would not witness the early crabbiness. He was quite proud of himself yesterday when he got the tractor stuck twice and still stayed off the chewing tobacco. Way to go sweetie!
Why do some people deny themselves something during Lent? The purpose isn’t to lose weight or kick a bad habit. The purpose is to experience a sacrifice as Jesus sacrificed himself for our benefit. If you have chosen to deny yourself something this Lent, when you yearn for that something, may it be a reminder of the sacrifice Jesus made for you. Ketchup seems pretty little compared to this.
Let us pray: Whether I’m fasting from a beloved food, computer games or something else, when the desire for my fast consumes me, please remind me of Jesus’ sacrifice for my benefit. May we be sobered by his great love and devotion for us this Lent. Amen.