I hope I can do this Lent thing

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 5, 2014

When I was growing up Baptist, I don’t remember hearing much, if anything about Lent. As far as I know Baptists don’t formally observe Lent, at least we didn’t.

However, later in life, I met folks who observed Lent as part of worship. Since I know little about how this works, I decided to find out more to see if I wanted to make it part of my life.

I learned Lent is the Christian season of preparation before Easter. Ash Wednesday marks the first day, or the start of Lent, which begins 40 days prior to Easter (Sundays are excluded from the count).

The purpose of Lent is to reflect on Jesus Christ – his suffering, sacrifice, life, death, burial and resurrection. As for observing Lent — there are many ways, which was interesting since all I knew about it was that you give up something you like.

Although that is something folks do, people also commit to other spiritual activities such as prayer, Bible reading, reflection, service, etc. Just as I was learning this, I saw a post from my friend Tommy that offered 40 suggestions for observing Lent. (I also came up with a few others on my own.)

Here are some of my favorites.

Pray for your enemies.

Pray for each member of your family.

Pray for the people you see on the “Most Wanted” lists on the local news. (This one is mine).

Practice five minutes of silence at noon.

Look out the window until you find something beautiful you had not noticed.

Observe a no bitching day (NBD). (I think I’ll need some praying for me on this day).

Pay a few sincere compliments (Perhaps I need to do this one on my NBD).

Forgive someone (Starting with myself if I slip up).

Write a thank you note to your favorite teacher. (Love this, but I have more than one).

Tell someone what you are grateful for. (I’ll be grateful when NBD is over).

Pray the Paper — pray for people and situations in today’s news– (I’d add pray for those who report the news. This could fit in with the NBD thing since I do hear people being less than grateful for the media).

Go out of your way to (anonymously, if possible) to do something nice for someone.

Of course, I could, and I might, celebrate Lent by refraining from a particular habit or activity. For example, I could swear off coffee and maybe chocolate for 40 days. Yes, I could, but it might make that NB thing pretty much impossible.

Perhaps, staying off social media during Lent is an idea. (Column writing could take hit since I often get a nudge from my muse on Facebook.)

I saw a suggestion not to turn on the car radio, but I don’t know if I can get to my yoga class in Opp without singing along with the radio. (If you happen to see me doing this, smile, wave and do that praying for someone suggestion).

One idea was to take a fast from television. That won’t be a problem if I can break fast on Wednesday night. (Hey, I gotta see what happens on Nashville and I am right now forgiving myself for being hooked on that show).

At the end of one article about Lent, I read this:

“If you stick to something for six weeks, chances are it will become a meaningful and healthy habit. You may reach the end of Lent to find your acts of kindness permanently changed your attitude about service; or that you really can live without a habit; or that spending time in prayer feels like a natural part of life and your day wouldn’t feel right without it.”

That sounds good. So, I think observing Lent is something I will make part of my life. (I’ll let you know how that NB thing works out.)