When I looked at this month's theme, I wasn't quite sure what to do with the prompt. Like some others, Lent was never really part of my tradition, either growing up, or now as a mature Christian. It's not that I don't think the practice of giving something up has no value. I'm sure it does, and for many people it is a concrete way for them to honour God that also has lasting and profound impact on their own walk with Him.
I did not come to know Christ as my personal Saviour until I reached young adulthood. However, growing up I had a close friend whose family were devout Catholics and who practiced Lent quite faithfully, even though I'm not sure if there was a personal relationship involved. I remember my friend giving up various things each year. Once it was candy; another time it was a certain TV show. It seemed like a silly ritual to me and I was glad nobody was making me do such a thing!
I didn't understand it at the time, obviously, or the significance it can have to one's faith walk. I also thought it was a tradition specific to Catholics. I since realize that many denominations encourage participation in Lent. When we were pastoring in the Yukon we enjoyed participating in Shrove Tuesday - which included yummy pancakes at the Anglican church - along with other members of the community. It was a way to demonstrate unity among the churches, one of our main focuses while ministering there for eight years.
Two of my grown daughters now attend a more reserved and liturgical church than the Pentecostal one they were raised in. They love the ceremony and sense of reverence they feel there, and although my husband and I prefer our own 'style' of church, I know that my girls love the strong foundation in the Word and in church traditions that they find in their new church home. People who attend genuinely love the Lord and really, what more is there? I include this here because observing Lent is an important part of what they now do with their own young families. I approve and try to support these decisions.
I have appreciated hearing the various perspectives this month and thank each one of you for your honesty and open hearts. I admire those that do choose to make Lent part of their faith tradition for whatever reason. In the end, although I still don't practice anything special for Lent, I try to live my life in a way that honours Christ all year round.