The Season of Lent 2023

Lent: Are you giving up something or taking on something?
Should we give something up or take something on in Lent? It seems the rules aren’t quite as clear as they used to be: fish on Fridays, evening worship on Wednesdays, no alcohol or chocolate for a 40-day fast? What’s the point?

The gift of this period of time in the church year offers us and opportunity to focus the heart and mind on developing the spiritual tools necessary for the life of faith. We wait in Advent so we can cultivate the spiritual resources required for times of waiting. We celebrate at Christmas and practice spiritual gift-giving so we know how to give, and receive, gifts—including the gift of Christ.

In Lent, we turn inward, so we know how to survive when the spiritual well is dry, despondent or gone altogether. Whether you take something on or give something up doesn’t really matter. What matters is that whatever you do is intended to bring you back to the one who gives all and is all-in-all for the Christ follower.

Lent is a spiritual housecleaning intended to bring us back to ourselves and the God who first formed us from the ash we smudge on our foreheads that first day of this holy fast.

Here are some ideas around giving up and taking on this Lent that might do just that.
  • Take on intentional, personal prayer.
  • Give up your meal—or at least transform it.
  • Take on a greater fast: money.
  • Give up your table for others.

On Maundy Thursday, Jesus gathered with his friends (John 13). Can you make your own table a welcome one in this season of introspection? Hospitality is a spiritual discipline that allows us to see God in the other, and sometimes we find that we see God for the very first time.

My prayer is that you make the best of this time and opportunity!
The Rev. Romeo K. Dabee
JFK Airport Community Minister