Sunday, February 18, 2007

What Are You Giving Up For Lent?

This Wednesday is Ash Wednesday. Growing up Lent was marked by 3 usual sacrifices: 1) not hitting my sister; 2) not eating chocolate; and 3) not hitting my sister.
Now as a mature(r) believer Lent has more (I hope) significance in my relationship with the LORD. As in Advent, I use Lent as a time to prepare emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus and thus the redemption of my relationship with God.

At lunch this afternoon, as a family, we talked about Ash Wednesday coming up. Emma asked that we not smear ashes on her forehead again, since she had youth group that night and didn't want to draw attention to herself. But we also talked about what to change in our routine so that, come Resurrection Sunday, the celebration would be that much sweeter and appreciated, by the six weeks of foregoing indulgences which have come to be normal in our lives.
So as a family we are taking the time of Lent to go back to basics - eat simply and use that which we save for others.
While blog-surfing and linking to favorite links I came across a blog with some startling statistics that gave me pause:

Today, across the world, 1.3 billion people live on less than one dollar a day; 3 billion live on under two dollars a day; 1.3 billion have no access to clean water; 3 billion have no access to sanitation; 2 billion have no access to electricity. ( "Poverty and Hunger Facts)

30,000 children under the age of 5 die every day from poverty-related issues? That's 210,000 a week or over 10 million a year, if you're counting." (UNICEF State of the World's Children)

Americans spend $110 billion a year on fast food, (Fast Food Nation - Eric Schlosser) and
339 billion dollars a year on their pets. (

Ian, sarcastically, asked "What good will all that do?" when we were discussing living on less during Lent. Our response was to help us be grateful, identify with most of the world and not take our economic freedom/responsibilities for granted. Who knows what else it will do? That will be an ongoing conversation.


Dave Moody said...

ok-- I give up. Your blog is way more pertinent than mine. Glad I married you, and pass the rice and lentils!

Nairobi Paul said...

Re: spending money on pets and fast food - and Lent - it's hard to be in the developing world and having poverty right before my face every day. Just yesterday, I was walking home for lunch & passed a street guy carrying a heavey load. I knew his income is less than a dollar a day. But somehow he survives. God feeds the sparrows. And we try to do our little part by helping in what little ways we can. (The lady mentioned in my "Faith or blind optimism?" post - we have helped her and her son a lot.) There's so much more we could do, but we have to keep our sanity!

Re: grooves of God's grace - God has given me a graceful period where quiet times are easier now than previously. I normally read the Word for 5 min & then pray, before the kids are up. But then this time in Kenya has had far less time pressures than our normal life in the States. I'm hopeful that some good grooves will continue once we return to Littleton.

I had a lot of guilt about quiet times for years. I'm not sure that's healthy. Guilt does come from the Holy Spirit sometimes - but not always. I don't know the formula for knowing which is which. (Well, there is no formula.)

Holly said...

Beans and lentils are good, Dave. :)

I am still considering...probably chocolate for me. That is painful.

Barbara - I have a pastor's family blog, as well, that you are welcome to visit. I don't write there very often...just once every two weeks or so.