on why i do not celebrate lent...

Because the blogging world is full of posts dedicated to the observance of Lent right now, I thought I'd rock the boat a bit and share why I don't observe it. This post might alternately be titled, "if you didn't know I was Reformed, you do now...." ha.

1. It trivializes the work of Christ. Period! Christ suffered the torments of hell on our behalf. He bore the full weight of God's wrath even though He did nothing wrong. That is suffering! Doing without TV is not!

2. It makes a mockery of God's grace. The idea that we have any power to establish a "closer relationship" with God by giving something up "for" Him is nothing short of works-based righteousness. "Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified." Gal. 2:16

3. It would make the Pharisees proud. Lent has got to be the definition of "outward displays of piety". I just don't understand why the whole free world needs to know what a person is "giving up" for God...other than to be congratulated for such "sacrifice". Our Heidelberg Catechism question and answer 91 says, "What are good works? Those only which proceed from true faith and are done according to the law of God, unto His glory; and not such as rest on our own opinion or the commandments of men." {Rom. 14:23, 1 Sam. 15:22, 1 Cor. 10:31, Deut. 12:32, Ezek. 20:18, 20, Num. 15:39}

4. It's "temporary." If the point is to truly find something that is a stumbling block {and I don't believe for a second that most people actually do this...you can't tell me chocolate is actually coming between you and God. Please.} and remove it so that it no longer hinders your relationship with God, then why on earth would you only remove it for 40 days?!

5. It is our sinful heart that separates us from God, nothing else. Not chocolate. Not blogging. Not television. Our sinful heart. And that has already been atoned for on Calvary. "Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him." Rom. 6:6-8

*steps down off soap box*


Stacie said...


Talia said...

SUCH a good post, Cheri! like Stacie simply said: AMEN. :)

*CPA* Su said...

I don't know what to say, except this is SO well written!! Point #1 & #4 especially caught my attention! Thank you for sharing your viewpoint. (I must say that I'm SO done hearing all of the Catholics at work talk about Lent...and that's just the tip of the ice-berg with my issues with the Catholic religion!)


Sunny said...

Preach it, sister!

Amanda said...

Hi Cheri!

I think a lot of people misunderstand the purpose of Lent, and therefore are guilty of exactly the kind of trivializing you refer to. In churches which do observe (as opposed to *celebrate*) Lent, we often hear sermons about exactly what you're saying.

The intention behind any "giving up" that traditional churches might encourage is to *create moments in our day* where we are reminded to pray and to look to the Lord for our help, rather than numbing ourselves with whatever modern indulgence we typically lean on.

Of course, we cannot compare giving up chocolate or television to Christ's sacrifice! Our actions during Lent absolutely cannot replace God's grace or the work of Christ -- and if a person is truly observing Lent with his or her heart, then that is not the intention. However, there are plenty of people who have made Lent into a "cultural phenomenon" rather than an opportunity for worship.

I think people also use this time to make changes in their life that they already know they need to make, because somehow the pressure of the status quo is temporarily lifted. Not the original purpose of Lent, but not necessarily a bad thing.

The 40 days of Lent represent the time Jesus spent in the wilderness. They are a part of the liturgical calendar, which is simply a way to align our church year with the events of Christ's life, following and studying the Gospel through the year.

You make some great points, I just thought I'd share from the perspective of someone who attends a liturgical church. :)

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