When I was growing up within the United Methodist Church in Wethersfield, Connecticut– long before I ever considered myself to be transgender or ever considered approaching the notion of coming out of the closet– the liturgical year fascinated me. Religion had seasons. Major milestones in the life and death and resurrection of Jesus Christ were appointed times of the year in which there was special Sundays or days of the week for celebration, spiritual reflection, times to focus on repentance, times to be more charitable or evangelistic or take part in more outreach and so on. It seemed like every month in the calendar, there was a season or an appointed time dedicated to some specific aspect of the faith.
Advent was in preparation for commemorating Christ’s birth
Christmas was the celebration of Christ’s birth
Epiphany was the revelation that Christ was born the son of God and the ultimate king of kings.
Then there is in some faith traditions, Mardi Gras, and “Fat Tuesday” where apparently we forget ourselves and gorge on food and celebrate and go nuts before Lent.
Now Lent represents or corresponds to the 40 days and 40 nights in which Jesus, after his baptism in the Jordan river by John the Baptist, goes off to the wilderness to commune with God. It is also the time in which he has a showdown with Satan, who tries to tempt Jesus and challenge his sovereignty as king of kings and lord of lords.
For most Christians, Lent is generally supposed to be the time of the Biblical (or Liturgical) year in which we focus on communing with God and His son, Jesus Christ. It is supposed to be a time of focused spirituality and a time to dedicate one’s self to following Christ. Now traditionally, we are supposed to make a sacrifice or give up some luxury or some indulgence as a sign of that dedication. Some Christians give up eating meat for example, others give up sweets and chocolate or wine or make resolutions to perhaps put more in the collection plate each Sunday, etc.
I came across an article though that gave me some new perspective on Lent and just how our attitudes towards the Lent season can seem a bit superficial or less than sincere. What are we really willing to give up for the sake of communing and being closer to God? Has Lent become a sort of frivolous second New Year’s Eve resolution we never really intend to follow through on?
Have a look at this article and tell me what you think!