I have been pondering a lot about the purpose of Lent. Growing up, I never really heard about Lent, possibly because I didn’t hear much in church anyway. I mostly fell asleep during service and if ever I was awake, the preacher’s words went in one ear and out the other. A few years ago though, my interest was peaked when I heard of Lent. Allie and I decided to do something. We decided to not eat meat and do a vegetarian diet for Lent. I remember going to the grocery store and lusting over the T-bone steaks on sale and having to grit my teeth and go for the tofu. I remember trying out different forms of “vegetarian meat” products like veggie bacon and veggie sausages. It was kind of an adventure… “what can I eat that would simulate eating meat without having to eat meat?” At the end of the Lenten season that year, I immediately ate a Korean BBQ meal. For those who know anything about Korean BBQ, it is pork and beef seasoned with heaven! Absolutely wonderful.
Looking back, I realized that the Lenten fast didn’t mean much. It was a test of my own will power and possibly it was for bragging rights to say I went 40 days without eating meat. I don’t think it brought me any closer to God, nor did it bring to light that I am very fortunate to be able to eat 3 meals a day or more. To be honest with you, I don’t think I had a thankful heart at the time for the over abundance of food I get to eat.
So here I am in 2014. I would hope that I’ve become a little bit wiser. And it is day 3 of Lent. I read a great article that a friend of mine on Facebook posted. It emphasized that Lent is not just about abstaining from our daily pleasures and wants. It is about creating space to discover just how much gets in the way of us encountering God in our lives.
Our culture of consumption and materialism coupled with our pride of entitlement has enabled us to create great walls. These walls, over time, have become fortresses that give us a perceived sense of security. These fortresses then have become the kingdoms we seek to maintain. The problem with this mentality is that we think that these fortresses are forever and we can become blinded to the fact that there is another reality that exists over the ones we create ourselves. It is a domain where moth and rust cannot destroy and where thieves cannot break into. It is the Kingdom that Jesus came to proclaim and establish.
Lent is a season for us to step outside of the fortresses we’ve built and look at our lives from a fresh new perspective. To let go of some of the things that give us a perceived sense of security. When we do this, we come into contact with the Kingdom of God, and the King of Kings who sits on the throne. We get a glimpse of the real and find that God indeed is the one we can put our trust and hope in and God’s Kingdom is a reality that continues to increase. It never gets dull. It never gets old.