Wednesday, February 25, 2009

What we can: The Lenten prerogative

Christians go through a journey of preparation and soberness lying in wait for the resurrection of Jesus, every year. The Lenten season or the fast has been initiated this year again and people all over the world have decided either to not eat till evening, not eat in the morning, not eat meat, or not eat meat, fish and any milk product. Depending on one’s tradition the lent attains a time of what we should ‘not’ do. The list thus spills over to what not to see, what not to speak, where not to go, whom not to meet and what not…

Coming to think of it, lent brings about a sense of what we should abstain from. But is this just a personal commitment and discipline which we undergo to make ourselves healthy (both spiritually and bodily) or is it truly a time when we think of others and help others? In this sense lent could be seen as a time not when we follow a set of rules but a time when we break them! Christianity like other religions has had it’s share of good times and has made an impact in several places, but has it made a change to the skewed understanding of society and has it fought against the manifold discriminations?

In this line of thinking, there are people who need our touch and acceptance. What will our abstinence do for them? How will our list of not to do things help them? Traditionally lent and fasting have also been associated with helping others. But in today’s scheme of things fasting and food control is being sold as a personal benefit to the individual and therefore what everyone should follow. This being the path that the church takes during lent, it is important that we debate the issue of lent and fasting. That is why we should maybe think of lent and fasting as a time of ‘what we can’ do rather than what we can’t.

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