Living Life to the Full in Lent

“So what are you giving up for Lent?” someone asked me with just that touch of implied censure that indicated I might be falling behind in the holier than thou stakes. In one of those rare moments of inspiration I flashed back: “Dieting.”

Traditionally during lent people have given up some luxury in order to practice self discipline and abstinence in the period running up to Easter.

This has of course been a much over egged theme in Christian history. Somewhere around the third century AD when Christianity ceased to be a persecuted minority religion and became the official religion of the Roman Empire there was a group of people who decided that Christianity had become, too soft, too establishment, altogether too cushy; so they withdrew into the desert in order to practice an ascetic lifestyle full of self denial. They denied themselves anything but the most basic of foods, all human contact and lived in isolated caves in order to face their own inner demons and live a purer life for God. The only problem with this cunning plan was that the desert became so crowded with would be monks seeking to escape human company that they could hardly move without bumping into each other; some of then got quite grumpy about it.

So what point am I making? Jesus said, I have come that you may have life, life in all it’s fullness. Being a Christian need not be about a narrow minded, life denying solemnity. Jesus died so that being forgiven, we might have life and life in all it’s fullness. So let’s celebrate all that’s good, live life to the full and let that be our act of worship.