For the past several years, I have watched with growing interest as other believers - people I know or people whose lives cross mine in some way - decide to observe Lent. I have always associated the practice with the Catholic church, and being a Baptist, wasn't sure how I felt about Lent. In general, I tend to balk at things that hint of 'works salvation'. To impose a fast on myself for the days leading up to Easter seems, to me, to be one of those 'works' kind of things. That giving up chocolate, blogging, or meat would somehow show God how much I love him raises the hackles on my grace-loving heart and spirit.
Recently, I've done some reading that has me changing my mind ever so slightly. I think that observing Lent, like everything else so in life, is about the heart-motive. I'm convinced that, done rightly, it can drive me to God and his grace.
I'm still processing. It's not all clear in my mind, so I am still not observing Lent this year. Maybe one year I will, or maybe I never will. Time and growth will tell.
A couple of links that have made me think::
First, thoughts about a less traditional way to observe Lent - Taking On an Act of Love for 40 Days
If anyone could convince me to "give up" for Lent, it might be the author of A Holy Experience::
When You Keep Sinning: The Key to Fasting and a Real Lent
"I fast during Lent because I want to really feel the panting wrestle with the appetites of my flesh and taste my hunger for the Grace God. "
and How a Lent that Fails Actually Succeeds
"Lent gives me this gift: the deeper I know the pit of my sin, the deeper I’ll drink from the draughts of joy.
Grief is what cultivates the soil for the seeds of joy.
She who knows her sins much, loves much, and the road to heaven is paved with the realization that I deserve hell. His rising will be all my joy, because I know it my bowels: He is all my hope. "