"Ahh, the Lents when we give up chocolate are always so much easier than the ones when we don't choose what to sacrifice."Oh. Yeah.
And the thing is, you don't necessarily know if it's going to be one of those Lents going into it, though sometimes you do. Cancer, difficult pregnancy, difficult relationships . . . those can make for a pretty sacrificial Lent, and there's nothing you can do about it.
But, as far as I know (the Lord knows), that's not my Lent this year. And so what if it's just an ordinary Lent? Besides thanking God fasting, what do you do?
Well . . . I don't know. I'm going to spend the next week praying about it, I think. But here's a thought I started thinking last year, and that I'm still kind of pondering: I think it's okay sometimes to just fast.
Like, actually give up eating, fast.
If there's no reason not to (pregnancy, illness, hard physical labor, etc.), why not? That's the tradition of the church.
There are different ways to do it. Some of the simplest are just giving up a meal per day, or fasting one or two days a week (Wednesdays, for Judas' betrayal, and Fridays, for Christ's death, are traditional). Some people actually fast for forty full days, though I think that's an Olympic-level event that needs the supervision of a doctor and a priest, at least.
There's going to bread and water for certain days, going vegan, going vegetarian. That starts to get complicated, though.
But, for Protestants, who don't have the strict rules some of our fellow Christians do, I think the simplicity of just fasting - from a meal, for a day - might not be such a bad idea.
I'm not saying you should. I'm not even saying I should - not yet, anyway. These things take prayer. But I think it is something to pray about, as Lent approaches. Sometimes we make very complicated fasts for ourselves, making up rules about different kinds of media or desserts, or whatever.
But maybe sometimes we should just fast.
What do you think?
Peace of Christ to you,