Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Lent 1

So it is lent. Where Christians all over the world trace the story of Jesus as he walks towards death and resurection.

Lent is this huge thing isn't it? The penitance, Oh Aren't I sinner, let me give some thing up to show how sorry I am.

It seems so destructive doesn't. And I suppose we all have to die a but, become Little Christs as the lovely Ann of puts it.

I believe God is love. A loving God surely doesn't want miserable children? In my practice of Lent I try and take something up, as the old stories reveal to me again something of the nature of Christ.

Christ in his journey to the cross shows faithfulness to God's will, even when it's hard. He shows love and mercy, even while he is on the cross.

So again, I'm going to try taking up prayer for Lent, being faithful to something daily. I will try doubly hard to walk humbly show love and mercy.


I abandon myself into your hands.

Do with me whatever you will.

Whatever you may do I thank you.

I am ready for all, I accept all.

Let only your will be done in me and all your creatures.

I wish no more than this, O Lord.

Into your hands I commend my soul.

I offer it to you with all the love of my heart.

For I love you Lord and so need to give myself,

surrender myself into your hands without

reserve and with boundless confidence

for you are my Father.



FLO said...

i find it find it can feel a bit self-destructive. it's all a bit forced, somehow, going with an allotted time and not the rhythms of your body when it comes to giving stuff up or whatever...

i am taking up listening better and being more assertive. contrary to common belief i am not so good at standing up for myself

Alex Segall said...

It's interesting - Lent, like our equivalent (predecessor?) the Omer is about giving something up, but is that necessarily a bad thing?

The Omer, like most things in Orthodox Judiasm (of which I am a badly unrepresentative selective applier...) is regulated and controlled by the Talmud, and is very specific.

49 days: first 33, you don't shave if you're a chap (or a very hairy lady...), you don't actively listen to music (so, no iPod, no partying, no frivolity - OK, you can hear music in the shops, that's unavoidable, but don't seek it out...) and you, above all, don't indulge in FUN.

On the 33rd day, you shave, you have a big old barbeque and you carry on as normal for the next 16 days. You continue to say the extra nightly blessing, and count the days in synagogue, and add in an extra couple of lines.


Well, back in the Temple, the Omer offering was a sacrifice of flour which was given daily - not sure/can't recall precisely what it was used for, but I think there was PLENTY bread for the meat sacrifices (I always thought the Temple was a sort of cross between an open air prayer meeting, a kebab shop and an abbatoir). Since we have no Temple, and for other things to do with Rabbi Akiva and a revolt against the Romans, we don't do fun stuff, as a sacrifice.

It's not meant to make you miserable, per se, but to make you realise that there are things in life we can all do without, and that giving them up isn't so hard. You must remember my omer "beards" just after Passover...

My thought on Lent is that it's like a lot of secular overtones to Christian practices, and has been distorted by people's bad experiences and by a media intent on making anyone religious into an extremist. After all, the symbolism of the Easter egg (Jesus's rebirth, anyone?) is lost in a haze of chocolate, sugar, bank holidays and royal weddings - every time someone offers me an Easter egg, I want to ask them if they got it in Church...

OK, religious instruction and subsequent rant over!