Sunday, March 8


Normally I try to take something on for Lent instead of giving something up. I feel like whatever I give up is usually something that I wasn't really using in the first place. I am not sure if it is something I do intentionally, but it has always caused me to miss the point of Lent in the first place. I think Lent should be about finding an intentional way to be in closer relationship with God. I have never found that giving something up has helped me accomplish that. I just give it up and forget it for 40 days.

Lent is my favorite season in the church calendar. I think the Ash Wednesday service is so beautiful. The symbolism of being fully cleansed and forgiven and then taking communion is more powerful during that service than during our regular Sunday service. I love the laying on of hands. I sometimes think I should have been Catholic except for all those rules and regulations that would have had me excommunicated in the first few minutes. I like the idea of having a confession where I am personally absolved by a priest. I don't think I need an intercessor to communicate with God, but it does make me feel like I am not in it alone. Much like my Lenten concession dilemma, I am afraid that when I say I am absolved, I am just taking the easy way out.

So a few years ago my mother suggested that I try taking something on instead. The first few years were not successful, but last year, I gave up plastic bags. It sounded like a simple thing to do, but it was really difficult. I never realized exactly how many times I bought one thing and took a plastic bag for it. Or how many times they double bag one jug of milk. It is almost embarrassing how many plastic bags we waste. If I forgot my reusable bags, then I had to carry things out of the store in my arms. I started carrying a larger purse to account for those times when I was only buying a few items. I thought about God every time I entered a store, all day long. It was a great way to remind myself of His love and forgiveness throughout the whole season. It is the first time that my Lenten discipline had changed my life. I have continued my discipline to this day and every time I don't take a bag, I think of God and how much he loves me.

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