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What are you giving up for Lent?

Published:Saturday | February 13, 2016 | 2:00 AMShanna Kaye Monteith
Shamara Walker of the Emmanuel Apostolic Church in White Horses, St Thomas says she will not be giving up anything for the period.
Blair wants to stay away from red meat: “Giving up something one enjoys the most is really a sacrifice. This is a tough sacrifice for me..."
Mullings: “I'm trying to overcome a weird temperament I have -I find myself getting upset by listening to people whose politics and attitudes differ from mine."
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Forty days and Forty Nights, was the length of time Jesus was said to fast for. The period now known as Lent began on Ash Wednesday and will end on Good Friday in April.

In celebration of this Lenten period, Christians all around make promises to themselves and before God to 'give up' a specific practice that they usually enjoy for the duration of the phase.

The most common practice that is put on hold for Lent is that of eating meat. Families ban the cooking of meat in their households and feed solely on vegetables and fish.

Other people pledge to stay away from alcohol, sugar, and processed food, with some even listing sex as something to stay away from.

Shamara Walker of the Emmanuel Apostolic Church in White Horses, St Thomas, told Family and Religion that she will not be giving up anything for the period.

"My main reason is because the Bible did not make any mention of such practices. Although many Christians and non-Christians view Lent as a time of fasting, praying, and cleansing of their souls, and believe that they are doing this to imitate Christ's 40 days fasting in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-2), I strongly believe that they are wrong and are misinterpreting the Biblical doctrine," she said.

The 22-year-old Christian told Family and Religion that she believes that most people might think what they are doing by giving up something during this Lenten period is Biblical, but she thinks it is actually a "man made" holiday with no Biblical evidence of any of Jesus' disciples practising this after His death.

"Why then should I part take in "Lent" and give up something? I fast and pray on other occasions that I see fit. I worship my Lord and I obey the doctrine, but it was never once mentioned in the Bible that one should practice Lent nor Ash Wednesday. This was designed by man. The Bible made it clear that we are 'purified -cleansed, set apart and made pure in God's sight - by the shed blood of Jesus Christ' (Heb 9:11-14, 22; 13:12). No amount of fasting, abstaining from physical pleasures, or any other form of self-denial can purify us and, as a result, I do not need to give up anything on a designed Lenten period," she said.

But unlike Walker, Ranelle Mullings, and Chevauni Blair were quick to pinpoint practices that they will be abstaining from during the Lenten period.

According to Mullings: "I'm trying to overcome a weird temperament I have - I find myself getting upset by listening to people whose politics and attitudes differ from mine. In some perverse way, I'm addicted to the feelings of smug superiority and indignation that come up in me when these people spout their hateful nonsense, but I know it can't be good because it diverts energy and attention away from God by focusing it on my own ego."

And Blair wants to stay away from red meat.

"Giving up something one enjoys the most is really a sacrifice. This is a tough sacrifice for me, because I don't eat chicken. Unlike other tasks - I will master this one, with God's help. The Lenten season is a time of sacrifice; giving up. Christ gave Himself for us, therefore, nothing should be too difficult for us to give up for Him, even though the process is rough - at the end of the day, the sacrifices we make will be to the glory of God. For me, Lent is a season of reflection, and thanksgiving; a deep sacrifice," he said.

familyandreligion@gleanerjm.com