Tuesday, February 22, 2011

I Lent my meat/coffee/soda/sweets to Jesus, and he'll return them on Easter.

It's the time of year where I start to wonder what, if anything, I should give up for lent.  Last year, I gave up coffee.  Let me tell you, sitting at our table at an outdoor restaurant in Warsaw on Easter and drinking coffee was so sweet (though, I think it may've been sweet anyway, without giving it up for a million days (approximately how long Lent feels)).

Anyway.  I can see the value in it.  Not sure that I am going to give up coffee for Lent this year, but we'll see!

Last year, probably around halfway through Lent, I came across this, and thought it would be a good thing to consider for this year's Lent.

It's Isaiah 58, and it is basically saying that it is wrong to fast if you are fasting for the wrong reasons, or if your heart is not in the right place.  Or if you are fasting for yourself, or just to give the appearance of being close to God.  If you are fasting, but still being a jerk to people, it is not pleasing to the Lord.  If you are only going through the motions, it is not pleasing to the Lord.

So, how can we fast, and still be pleasing to the Lord?  Here is a list that I pulled out of the passage (the numbers on the side are not the verse numbers, just the list of actions found in Isaiah 58):

1.  Free those who are wrongly imprisoned;
2.  lighten the burden of those who work for you.
3.  Let the oppressed go free,
4.  and remove the chains that bind people.
5.  Share your food with the hungry,
6.  and give shelter to the homeless.
7.  Give clothes to those who need them,
8.  and do not hide from relatives who need your help.
9.  "Remove the heavy yoke of oppression.
10.  Stop pointing your finger and spreading vicious rumors!
11.  Feed the hungry,
12.  and help those in trouble.
13.  Some of you will rebuild the deserted ruins of your cities. Then you will be known as a rebuilder of walls
and a restorer of homes.
14. "Keep the Sabbath day holy.  Don't pursue your own interests on that day, but enjoy the Sabbath and speak of it with delight as the LORD's holy day.  Honor the Sabbath in everything you do on that day, and don't follow your own desires or talk idly.

So.  Still thinking about this...luckily I have a little bit of time left before Lent starts.  

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