- Jonathan Schnarr
What Are You Giving Up For Lent?
Are you giving anything up or trying something new for Lent? Let us know in the comments! Read below for our latest blog post from Jonathan Schnarr, Youth Minister at St George & St Paul, Tiverton.
Have you been asked yet what you have given up for Lent?
If not, let me be the one to do the honours: What have you given up? Maybe sweets, Netflix, alcohol or sugar altogether? Often, when I am talking to young people about Lent, I get the question whether they can give up school, or maybe even getting out of bed in the morning!
I guess that's not quite the point of giving up something during these 40 days before Easter – but what is?
Lent is known as a season for preparation. Christians all around the world want to get ready for the big celebration: Jesus, the son of God, overcoming death and making it possible for you and me to enter into a living relationship with the Creator of the universe. That's immense!
As part of this preparation, Christians throughout history have focussed on fasting which isn't a very common practice in our culture anymore: The idea behind this discipline of not eating is to focus on who really sustains us: not the bread, the water (or the doner kebab), but Jesus himself. As people abstained from food, they prayed instead – they used the time they would have normally spent swallowing food to tune into God's presence, listen to His voice or sit in stillness to receive His peace.
Sometimes however, 'giving something up' has turned into a legalistic way to earn favour with God or to showcase 'good Christian lifestyle' which is really not what the initial idea of Lent was all about.
So this year, I want to do things differently: I want to give up something, not simply for the sake of it, but in order to focus on God through prayer, reading and listening.
I want to prepare myself for what is to come and rejoice in the reality expressed in this beautiful worship song: "Death could not hold You | The veil tore before You | You silence the boast of sin and grave | The heavens are roaring| The praise of Your glory| For You are raised to life again" (What a Beautiful Name, Hillsong)
So, what have you given up this year? Would you join me in seeking God's presence this Lent? Every Blessing Jonathan Youth Minister
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