What I see and what I think about it.

Saturday, 16 February 2008

A lenten rant

We are in the season of Lent.

In case you don't know what that is: it is the 40 days before Easter. It is a time when Christians spend a bit of time thinking about what Jesus did for them on the cross. It is a time to prepare for Easter Sunday and the resurrection. In the past people used to fast during lent. That is why we have pancakes on Shrove Tuesday (the day before lent starts) it was to use up all the nice things like sugar that people didn't then eat through out the 40 days.

In the bible 40 days is a big deal. It appears over and over again. Once Jesus goes into the desert for 40 days before he starts all the main bits of his ministry (all the healing, preaching etc). He needed that time in which to think and to pray. To be with God. To focus. And that is what lent is for.
Now-a-days lots of people give things up. A good friend of mine usually gives up chocolate. And hopefully when they want to do/eat that thing they remember how much Jesus gave up. It is a way of remembering. (My friend also then went on to give the money saved to charity - which I was always impressed with. The sacrifice went out from herself to help other people).
This is what lent is about. And that is why I am so horrified that whereever I go I am bombarded with Easter eggs. (I could write a whole other post on my disagreement with these most un-biblical of items but that will have to wait, along with Father Christmas!)

I went to a supermarket today and Easter eggs were everywhere. Not just the "seasonal" ailse. (Where they have been since just after Christmas) but on the tops of shelves, at the end of aisles, you are constantly tripping over the things. Am I the only one who thinks that this is totally inappropriate? I can see their point of view that greedy consumers want to spread the cost of Easter. But really! Do they have to be everywhere I go? We are in lent not Easter.
I was also looking at Easter cards and they all had fluffy bunnies, chicks, eggs and some made a nod at Christianity but having a flower-decked rural church. Easter is not just about new life, it is about old life renewned.

I feel sad when I think how much society has dulled down the Christian message, hijacking its festivals. Easter should be about Jesus, not chocolate eggs. Not only are they totally unrelated to the message of Easter (although some quite tenuous links have been made) but they are an obscene waste of money and a huge waste in packaging. We need to change this. We need to fight the consumerism. Make a new tradition. Do lent in a special way. Make lent a journey. I want my children to grow up and see this hype for what it is. I want them to know about Jesus' death and resurrection. I want them to use lent as a time to reflect. This is such a valuable time. We have to reflect before we can move onwards into all that God has in store. When we remember Jesus on the cross we remember that he was put there for us. Instead of us. And it is then that Easter Sunday can become real. We are free to celebrate because not only have we died with Jesus, but we have also been raised up with him.

When we get to Easter it should be a time of wonderful celebration. Any self imposed sanctions on ourselves are lifted. And we can remember God's amazing blessings on us. Please let us try to see through all this pre-Easter hype. And remember that this is a time to remember the cross. The resurrection is to come. Waiting is part of the process, so don't rush it.

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