by Sally Curtis AsKew
Lent began as a way for Catholics to remind themselves of the value of repentance. The austerity of the Lenten season was seen as similar to how people in the Old Testament fasted and repented in sackcloth and ashes (Esther 4:1-3;Jeremiah 6:26; Daniel 9:3).
The 58th chapter of Isaiah (CEB) verses 6-8 speaks of fasting and says “Isn’t this the fast I choose, releasing wicked restraints, untying the ropes of a yoke, setting free the mistreated, and breaking every yoke? Isn’t it sharing your bread with the hungry and bringing the homeless poor into your hose, covering the naked when you see them, and not hiding from your own family?
The key is to focus on repenting of sin and consecrating oneself to God. I can remember I was a teenager and first heard of the idea of giving up something for Lent. Most of us focused on giving up chocolate, desserts, chips, or something like that. We talked to anyone who would listen about how good we were to be doing this. Later in life I came to understand that Lent should not be a time of boasting of one’s sacrifice or trying to earn God’s favor or increasing His love. God’s love for us could not be any greater than it already is.
These days my focus is on a new practice of devotional reading. I try to read a devotional book which is different from the regular devotional book I use each morning. I make time to spend in prayer and meditation. This year especially I want to focus more on God’s love as I learn a new way of living so that I can continue to learn to accept God’s love as a part of my entire being.
Prayer: God, help me learn to be a disciple who shares your love with all the world. Amen.