Piety Hill Musings

The ramblings of the 51 year old Rector of St. John's Episcopal Church of Detroit. Piety Hill refers to the old name for our neighborhood. The neighborhood has changed a great deal in the over 150 years we have been on this corner (but not our traditional biblical theology) and it is now known for the neighboring theatres, the professional baseball and football stadiums and new hockey/basketball arena.

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Location: Detroit, Michigan, United States

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Giving something up for Lent - Rector's Rambling for March 8, 2015

Lent is now in full swing.  Although last week was the First Sunday in Lent, it took on a festive feeling with the official visit of our Diocesan Bishop, and the administration of the Sacrament of Confirmation.

Last week the Bishop mentioned in his sermon the popular use of “giving up something for Lent.”  Often, as he mentioned, it can become a legalistic exercise in not doing something for the sake of proving one’s own grit and ability.  That, of course is not the purpose of giving up something for Lent.

The purpose of this discipline is two-fold.  First, it is an opportunity to offer it up as a sacrifice.  Remember, the word sacrifice means “I make holy”.  We offer up something as a sacrifice in order to help aid us to greater holiness.  But the second reason is that we need to be reminded in a tangible way that we do not have to give in to our impulses and desires.

I know in my experience, when I give something up for Lent, I want it even more at first!  Friday seems like a perfect day for a hamburger, and every cup of coffee I smell and see is overly inviting.

But I don’t have to have them.  I am not controlled by my desires and passions.  And like an athlete in training, I learn holy living by learning to say no to urge, and yes to what God’s Will may be for me.  “Giving up something for Lent“ is an exercise toward that end.