Why don’t Baptists observe the practice of Lent? The days between Ash Wednesday and Easter weekend focus on the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus, who gave His life on the cross to atone for the sins of the world. Doesn’t it seem right that we should make some kind of sacrifice ourselves as a symbolic gesture during these days?
There are plenty of Biblical examples for engaging in an activity for 40 days. 1) The flood during the time of Noah was caused by rain that fell for 40 days and 40 nights. (Genesis 7) 2) Moses went up on Mt. Sinai for 40 days TWICE, once to get the original tablets of the Ten Commandments and the second time to get all of the other laws and regulations found in Exodus, Leviticus and Numbers. Exodus 24:18 “Then Moses entered the cloud as he went on up the mountain. And he stayed on the mountain forty days and forty nights.” 3) In the 19th chapter of 1 Kings, we find the account of Elijah running from Jezebel’s threatening words. He was fed by an angel, and after “being strengthened by that food, he traveled for 40 days and 40 nights until he reached Mt. Horeb, the mountain of God.” (verse 8) 4) After Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist in the Jordan River, he went to the wilderness to prepare himself for his coming ministry. He fasted, He prayed and He encountered Satan. Luke 4:1-2 “Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry.”
I asked several of my fellow Baptists how they planned to observe Lent. Some mentioned giving up Mexican food. One said she’d be giving up golf — not just for Lent but because of a shoulder injury. Another friend shared that she and her daughter were going to find objects everyday for 40 days to give away. Yet another mentioned that her children would be giving up pizza, and she hoped to give up negative thoughts for those 40 days. In a response that no doubt pleased my daughter Laura Baggett who wrote a book called Making Room for Jesus, one friend told of her plan to gather 40 bags from her home to help with the decluttering process.
I have pondered all of this and agree with the idea of ridding myself of internal problems — hopefully for MORE than just 40 days. I would LOVE to get GREED, BITTERNESS, and REGRETS out of my life.
I have already begun the process of detoxing my body in terms of sweets, fried foods, carbonated beverages and the like. So, it won’t be a Lenten activity, but I plan to continue that exercise.
I do think that the course of action involved in purging my home, my closets, cabinets and drawers of clutter will be a great lift spiritually, mentally and physically. Steve and I have a goal of cleansing 20 bags each from our “areas.” Some will go straight to the trash, but maybe some of it can be put to good use by others. I’m looking forward to the peace of mind both the actions and the results will bring to us. And it seems very beneficial to me to think through various aspects of my life for the purpose of simplifying and focusing.
There is SO MUCH more involved in the concept and practice of Lent, but, as a Baptist, I have nothing in my background to explain it all. However, if I can become a better version of myself between now and Easter, I believe my celebration will be lifted to a new level.
Think about it. It’s not too late to make some changes of your own before Easter.