Maggie White is a former summer office staff member at Camp Fowler. She currently works at Union College in Schenectady, New York, and serves as youth director at First Reformed Church in Scotia, New York.
For a long time now, I’ve given up sweets for Lent. It can be a challenge, coming right on the tails of the season of cookies, cakes, and treats. It’s amazing how accustomed you get to having something sweet after a meal, and to be honest, I usually fail at making it through the whole 40 days. What can I say—I like chocolate. As time has gone on, however, it’s become less effective. Not because it has gotten any easier—I still have a very hard time making it 40 days without chocolate—but because my views on it have changed. It’s become a diet of sorts; a physical cleanse after the heavy eating of Christmas. And that’s not what Lent is supposed to be about.
So last year I did something different. In addition to removing sweets, I added something. It was a huge revelation for me—nowhere does it say you have to solely deprive yourself of something during Lent. Why not add something that can help you reflect? This year, I plan to read a half hour every day during Lent. I know it doesn’t seem like much, especially for me. But while I love reading, too often I bypass it and go for the easy entertainment of television. Making time to read is going to remind me not to take the easy route; it will make me think and make me branch out. It will hopefully give me time to reflect this Lenten season. And that is what Lent is about.
So this year, instead of just removing something from your life, why not try adding something meaningful? (It’s not too late!) Maybe it will give you the chance you need to reflect as well.
Prayer: Lord, following you sometimes involves not giving up things, but taking up things that help us better serve and understand you. Help us find something that will center us this Lenten season.
For this year’s Lent devotions, the days follow the Common Lectionary texts. Each author was invited to: 1.Read the passage.
2.Read a couple passages before and after the assigned day.
3.Do something else for the day, keeping the passage in mind.
4.Find a word/phrase/concept that connects with your own experience. Reflect on that.
You are encouraged to do the same.