The Rev. Rob Baldwin, pastor, Trinity Episcopal Church, 1011 Vt.:
I am observing Lent this year in a couple of different ways. At Trinity we are having a special Lenten class on the book of Revelation, with dinner and worship at 6:30 p.m. each Wednesday.
In my personal discipline, I am going to try to give up the distracting, often pointless, time wasting activities in my life like silly games and obsessively checking Facebook or news websites and find more productive ways to use that time to do things that really matter like spending time with my family and friends and in prayer.
I also am hoping to live in a more healthy manner. I have realized that I am rapidly approaching the age my grandfather was when he died very unexpectedly of a heart attack, and I would like to not repeat that for my own children.
My advice for people who are looking to adopt a Lenten discipline is to not look for a cheap and easy way to participate by giving up something picayune in nature. Giving something up may not be the answer at all, but perhaps taking something on, like a new ministry or a commitment to daily prayer. The purpose of a Lenten discipline is not to be miserable or publicly pious, but to be intentional about transforming your life into something of which both you and God can be proud. Jesus said that whatever we ask for in his name will be given to us, and that includes the strength and support to tackle the difficult areas of our lives that we know don’t look like they should.
— Send e-mail to Rob Baldwin at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Doug Heacock, contemporary worship leader and director of media and communications, Lawrence Free Methodist Church, 3001 Lawrence Ave.:
I have memories from my school days of classmates asking one another, “What are you giving up for Lent?” For a long time, I had only a rough idea of what that meant, because Lent was not really a big deal in the evangelical religious tradition in which I grew up.
I knew it all began on Ash Wednesday, and that on Easter Sunday, people who gave things up for Lent could have them once again, but that was the extent of my understanding.
Consequently, the observation of Lent has not been a significant part of my walk as a believer. But a few years ago, my wife decided to begin observing Lent in various ways, such as giving up sweets and desserts during the Lenten season, in order to prepare for a more meaningful Easter celebration.
This year, I’m going to do the same, and for the same reasons — not because I think it will help me earn favor with God, and not because of the associated health benefits, but because I think it will help me be better prepared to celebrate the significance of Easter, and that preparation is what Lent is really about.
Easter is the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus, the central, defining event of the Christian faith — it really IS a big deal. By observing Lent, I’m hoping that even my small acts of self-denial during the days preceding Easter will remind me of the One “who loved me and gave himself up for me” (Galatians 2:20).
Those reminders of the kindness and love of Jesus can lead me to repentance, and to gratitude for what Jesus accomplished for me — forgiveness, peace with God and hope for the future.
— Send e-mail to Doug Heacock at email@example.com.