Saturday, 23 March 2013

I hate Lent

I suppose I shouldn't say that, but as every annual Lant approaches I feel that it is less and less relevant to living the Christian faith. Then as the weeks meander by, I wonder why we need this yearly season of flagellation. It's certainly not to find favour with God, for there is no way we can influence our standing with the Almighty. It has more to do with making ourselves feel worthy and superior than it is to do with our faith. And so I openly admit that I haven't given up anything these last 5 weeks. Is my faith lessened because of this? No. Would my faith have been strengthened if I had denied myself something I enjoy? No. I would just have been more miserable. And God knows Im p'd off enough with the machinations of the organised CofE as it is, especially its bullying to use business audit approaches to the life of a parish. I am resisting it, and will continue to do so. Maybe waving the palms tomorrow will bring a bit of relief and uplifting of the spirit - though of course it all gets dashed to pieces again on Friday. Roll on Sunday, when the stone moves and I can smash open my Easter eggs!


  1. I've heard this comment many times from people who were raised in a liturgical tradition. Coming to it later in life, I never had any bad childhood memories of denial and misery. Instead, from the very beginning, it was presented to me as a time of reflection and quiet; a time to take stock. Instead of giving up something silly like chocolate, I spent Lent in the previous two years trying to give up complaining… even privately to myself. It was really hard, but really opened my eyes to how many blessings I've got (and what a whiner I am). I also have always tried to take something on: a new style of prayer, giving back to my community, searching my conscience for someone I needed to forgive. Maybe it just works better for me because I'm an introvert, but I also think that the way I began observing Lent never was about misery, that I think of it as a time of quiet joy. I don't know what the emphasis is in the UK; maybe it's different for us in the US?

  2. I don't think it's any different in the US from here, but yesterday evening was a time for a moan. I know that the season should be about the positive rather than negative, and if asked what I've given up I flippantly reply "dieting". Maybe next year I'll say "Lent". But I still don't see that there's the need for a "season" in which to develop our faith. It should be a continuum. It's similar when the Diocese invites me to go to the cathedral on Maundy Thursday to renew my ordination vows. Sorry, but no. I took them, and I try and hold to them.. Regular renewals take away their impact, at least they do for me. So I decline the invitation, and anyway, I'm busy in the parishes on Maundy Thursday, and a round trip of some 60 miles to our cathedral is not on.

    But now the palms are ready, the snow is still falling, and I'm packing an electric heater in the car to take into the freezing country church. What merriment! And then tonight is Chinese take-away night!

  3. We're renewing our vows on Resurrection Sunday to recognise fifty years of marriage. I don't think it'll take away their impact, it's more an acknowledgement of their continuing validity and a recognition that we still need to work at making the marriage work.

    1. 50 years on is a great achievement and worth celebrating. However, would it have the same impact if you'd been invited to renew them every year?

  4. I'm somewhat mystified as to what I should do differently in Lent than the rest of the year, so now I really don't do anything different, except attend the Holy Week services with a willing heart.

  5. Possibly not - but we still celebrate our birthdays every year; not quite so many in your case!