My early church days began in the Church of Christ Church. It was a little church around the corner from our house. At the time the pastor and his wife lived right across the street from this church. I attended every Sunday, sometimes with my younger brother and sister with me, sometimes alone. At this time my parents didn't go to church with us. They had us gives give something up every year for Lent. One year I gave up chocolate because the teacher said I needed to give up my favorite thing. I do remember how hard that was. My mom often baked chocolate chips cookies or would make chocolate cake, esp one that had these red cherries on it at Eater. At that time we did not give it up for just the season of Lent, they had us make it an entire year commitment. However, I remember as a child having the impression that something bad would come upon us if that commitment were to be broken.
As my life of a child continued to sixth grade my mother decided we would start going to a Lutheran church. I remember the traditions of Lent being very different. There were Wednesday night services, you gave something up between Ash Wednesday and Easter. We had a feast sometime during the period of Lent. It had a whole lot of doctrine in the church services with certain songs, creeds etc taking place. Even the colors and flowers in church changed. I can't tell you I remember what I gave up.
I would say that my children have lived a less rule oriented Christian life. We have attended non denominational churches since I was pregnant with our daughter. They realize most of the attributes of the Christian Calendar meaning Advent, Lent and so forth. I wanted to make an impact this year. I didn't want to lean to the tradition of giving something up necessarily but choosing a couple things one to do during the Lent season and one to do all year to increase the benefit in my life.
I struggle with exercise. I have not exercised regularly in 10+ years. I do not make the time for it. I often think I should get on the treadmill and walk but I don't do it. I will be honest in that in the last 5 years or so I don't even sleep the same hours, I don't eat three meals a day...the list goes on. I am going to use this Lent season to refocus how I live my life. So starting with today I will exercise during my afternoon show that I watch nearly every day Monday-Friday. I will also make it a point to have fish every Friday or Saturday since I know for me the benefits of the Omega 3 for my bipolar and seizures are tremendous. I have even decided that if for some reason I have to be at the school, teach etc during the afternoon that I will make the commitment to work out that evening. It seems my husband is on board too as he started his work out last night. I think this will be a wonderful commitment for our marriage too. Something we can do to encourage one another. My oldest son says what we are giving up is time, so I guess depending on how you look at it that might be the case.
Here is a description of lent and its purpose.
The traditional purpose of Lent is the penitential preparation of the believer—through prayer, penance, repentance, almsgiving, and self-denial. Its institutional purpose is heightened in the annual commemoration of Holy Week, marking the Death and Resurrection of Jesus, which recalls the events of the Passion of Christ on Good Friday, which then culminates in the celebration on Easter Sunday of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
How are you going to spend this Lent season?