Friends, why do conversations about religion have to be so….weird? Take this one, for instance.
“Toni, what is Lent?” It’s the season of preparation, fasting, and consecration of our hearts and minds during the 40 days preceding Easter.
“I didn’t know you were Catholic.” I’m not, more than Catholics celebrate Lent.
“Like who?” Like Methodists. I was Methodist for about 15 years before I joined the church I’m at now. Lent is a thing in the Methodist Church.
“I don’t think you’re right, Toni. Only Catholics celebrate Lent.” I can also tell you that I grew up in a non-denominational church like the one I attend now. We celebrated Lent.
“No. You didn’t” Ummmm….okay. But I learned about it from somewhere and I think it was from my Mama.”
See what I mean about weird?
It’s true that Lent is probably most known for its prevalence in the Catholic community. After all, it is the reason we have Mardi Gras. For others though, it signifies the importance of Easter in a very personal way.
I’m not talking about the pastel colors, the Easter eggs, and the bunnies, either.
I’m talking about Jesus, the cross, our sins.
More specifically and for me, it’s about my relationship with Jesus.
Here’s what those 40 days mean to me:
- Preparation is Good. The preparation of my heart is better. When I think about what we’re having for dinner or get caught up in the coolest way to decorate Easter eggs this year, Lent reminds me to regain focus. Easter is about Jesus. And even though I may have found the perfect outfit for me to wear to church this year, I need the reminder that this is about Him and my relationship with Him.
- My family and friends connect across the miles. My parents and I live a thousand miles apart. We rarely go to church together. As a matter of fact, my mother has been attending her current church for almost five years now and because of the distance, I haven’t been once. Lent is something we celebrate across the miles. We talk about our fasts, we pray for one another, and we eagerly anticipate the Resurrection together, through Lent.
- Fasting is an important part of my life. If I do it in my everyday life, why wouldn’t I do it during special occasions? Whether or not it’s a sacrifice of desserts, coffee, social media, shopping or anything else, I can’t think of a better time or more special occasion to do it.
Does your family celebrate Lent? Why or why not?