Archive for Saturday, February 23, 2013

Faith Forum: How does your congregation observe Lent?

February 23, 2013


Giving up bad habits is season’s sacrifice

The Rev. Tom Brady, senior pastor, First United Methodist Church, 946 Vermont St.:

As United Methodists, we observe Lent as a season of 40 days, not counting Sundays, which begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on the Saturday before Easter.

Historically, Lent began as a period of fasting and preparation for baptism by converts and then became a time of penance and self-denial by all Christians. The penitential spirit of Lent should be tempered with joyful expectation of the Resurrection. There is a balance of emphasis throughout Lent: sin and death at one extreme, and the light of God’s redeeming love and grace made known through the Resurrection of Jesus Christ at the other extreme.

During Lent, many people commit to fasting or giving up certain types of luxuries as a form of sacrifice and penitence. Others will commit to additional acts of service during this season, or spend more time reading and meditating on God’s Holy Word. The whole congregation is reminded of the mercy and forgiveness proclaimed in the gospel of Jesus Christ and the need we all have to renew our faith at Easter.

The theme our congregation will observe this Lent is, “Give up Something Bad for Lent.” Instead of focusing on food items like ice cream, pop and potato chips, we will focus on giving up things — such as bitterness, apathy, rumors, unkindness, envy, blame-shifting, bad habits and pettiness — in order to improve relationships. By giving up these less desirable traits, it will hopefully prepare those who worship with us to embrace something good at Easter — the love, forgiveness and grace of God, and the joy of healthier, more meaningful relationships with others.

— Send email to Tom Brady at


Frederic Gutknecht IV 5 years, 1 month ago

I've never lent a thing to any congregation. Mostly, they insist on gifts. Tee Hee...

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