I must confess that when I saw that title on an online article by a man named Aaron Damiani, I could feel a rant start to boil up inside my soul. “Just more ‘spiritual but not religious’ gas,” I thought. Then I read the article and saw that Mr. Damiani is a Christian pastor and was actually making some good points, not about Lent itself but about the Lenten custom of self-denial. He wasn’t talking about the value of Lenten worship; he was addressing people’s thought processes about what they were giving up for the season. According to Rev. Damiani, here are five wrong reasons to practice Lenten self-denial:
Thanks, Rev. Damiani. I personally fasted one Good Friday as a sign of my commitment to the Lord. I was pretty heroic throughout the morning, thinking of Christ every time my stomach suggested I look into breakfast. The afternoon was much harder. I thought about food most of the time and only a little bit about Jesus. The evening was the worst. I didn’t think about Jesus at all and went to bed at 8:00 P.M. because I couldn’t stand being awake any longer.
Self-denial is a venerable tradition and is helpful to some Christians. But there are more important things about Lenten observance than whether or not you give up drinking or red meat. Here are my five reasons for observation of the Lenten season:
.Pastor Mark Jeske has been bringing the Word of God to viewers of Time of Grace since the program began airing in late 2001. A Milwaukee native, Pastor Jeske has served as the senior pastor at St. Marcus, a multicultural congregation on Milwaukee’s near north side since 1980. In addition, he is the author of six books and dozens of devotional booklets on various topics.
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