Addition by Addition
It is traditional in the church to celebrate Lent by giving up something. The purpose, of course, is to deepen our spiritual lives and prepare for Easter. This amounts to sort of an addition by subtraction. Our faith gains strength as we intentionally lose something. For a number of years I gave up hamburgers and soft drinks for Lent. For me this constituted a sacrifice of sorts, but it was hard to see major growth from it save the loss of a few pounds and the gain of appreciation for the ability to eat enjoyable food. Next, I tried to give up hurry during Lent- I quit running yellow traffic lights and looking for the shortest checkout line at the store. I think I gained a bit of patience and a greater ability to be in the present from this practice.
Recently, I have tried for addition by addition during Lent by taking on a spiritual practice for Lent. I’ve added devotional reading, more time for morning Bible reading, an additional service opportunity and even listening to podcasts on spiritual issues in the last few years. This year, like last year, I am committing to spending more time in contemplative prayer.
I am finding now more benefit in adding rather than subtracting for Lent. Perhaps subtraction works best for you, or maybe you are ready to try adding a spiritual practice for Lent. In either case, I wish you a meaningful Lenten season followed by a powerful experience of Christ at Easter.