Pastor’s Manna – Lenten Practices
Have you ever wondered what the season of Lent is all about? Why do some people give things up? Why do all these places suddenly advertise fish? How is this related to our faith?
The Catholic church began a tradition that a person would give up something for Lent, remembering the 40 days that Jesus fasted in the desert. The idea is that in the process of giv-ing something up, a person can focus on that absence and recognize their own mortality.
In the early Catholic church, Catholics were not to eat any flesh of a warm-blooded animal on any Friday, in recognition that Christ gave up His life on a Friday. In 1966, Pope Paul IV relaxed that requirement to become only a recommendation to not eat meat on Fridays, particularly the Fridays between Ash Wednesday and Easter. In fact, the breaded fish sandwich was created in an area of strong Catholic background to make up for the lack of Friday sales of hamburgers at a particular fast-food restaurant!
Throughout the country, and especially popular in the Midwest, Fish Fry Fridays began during Lent as an alternative to eating meat on Fridays, and also became a great fundraiser for the churches that provided the fish frys.
We, in the Protestant faith, have focused more on adding something to our lives, rather than taking something away. We look for Spiritual practices that we can add during these 40 days of Lent, fasting being one, but also prayer, Bible Study, devotional reading, and quiet time with God.
Will you join us this Lent with added spirituality in your life? You might even find that it is a discipline you want to continue after Easter. We have several Bible Studies available throughout the week, including one happening just for Lent. Take some time for God and add Him to your life this March!