Many in the Christian world are entering into the season of Lent. On the surface this 40 day (plus Sundays) remembers Jesus’ fasting and temptations in the wilderness. It is meant to be a time of self sacrifice and denial. It is a time to give up luxury and focus on the spiritual.
In the UK it has become more frivolous with some people claiming to have given up broccoli for Lent. Even the giving up of chocolate or cream cakes seems to miss the point. Shrove Tuesday (the day before Lent) is called “Pancake Day.” It was meant to be a day when sugar, fine flour, cream and the like, were removed (by using up) from the house for Lent. Now people rush out to buy (bring in) the ingredients for the day.
Fasting is a spiritual exercise. It is not a springtime “New Year’s Resolution,” of chocolate withdrawal. It is a time to reflect on the millions less fortunate than yourself, to understand by going without, what they face daily. Many Christians use the money saved by fasting to donate to those in need. It is a practice of faith, reliance on God, and of physical hardship (and spiritual gain) “in a time of plenty.”