Years ago on an online chat group I was pressured to give up something for Lent. Something that would hurt. I wanted to take it seriously, but also knew I had to be realistic. I finally decided that I could probably force myself to forgo coffee for a week.
You see, having been raised in a very, very low church environment, it wasn’t entirely clear to me how long the ordeal would last. All the pledges were posted to the group’s bulletin board and made a matter of public record in order to keep us honest. Imagine my shock when I discovered that the season of Lent actually lasted for more than a month! Oh, the humanity.
Fortunately, I had not pledged to give up caffeine, so I was able to make it through on a steady infusion of double-bagged tea and hot chocolate. And that first cup of fast-breaking coffee on Easter morning was glorious, a perfectly tuned accompaniment to the sacred sunrise service.
I had learned a few things along the way, and become just a teeny little bit more “high church.” I became more attentive to the rhythm of the church calendar and the discipline of the fast – whether physical or metaphorical. The practice has become even more meaningful in the ensuing years of living in our insanely consumerist society.
But it’s not always easy, as the following meme suggests . . .