Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Idea of Love, Sacrifice, and How it Relates to Lent

Yesterday I posted an essay about sacrifice, which I linked to Peter Pollock's blog carnival.

I ended that post with the statement " Love prompts us to meet someone else's need, even when it has a dear cost."


Which brings me to the question, what need do we meet when we sacrifice during Lent (which begins March 9).   God has no need of anything from us.  Why give up anything?   The answer my heart comes up with is to meet our own need to show our love.   Did you ever notice how children don't keep their love bottled in, but show it, whether it is in hugging a parent, drawing a picture for a teacher, or pulling the hair of the girl in front of them?   They just can't keep it inside!

That is how our love for God needs to be (and I don't mean to suggest that Lent is the ONLY time we should do this, any more than Christmas is the only time we are to be in awe of the Incarnation.):  we need to love Him so much that we must show Him our love!  How does giving up donuts do that?   Well, if we have become so enamored of that donut that we miss it if we don't have it in the morning, isn't it a lovely gift to give to Him?   Doesn't it say "YOU, Lord, are the sweetest thing in my life! "  ? What if we don't like donuts?   Then it isn't a sacrifice, is it?

But the point here is love.   How big the sacrifice isn't the point.    There is no big or small in this.   Giving up a morning cup of tea would be hardly anything to me, but very difficult for someone else, while cutting my computer time in half would give me fits, and hardly noticeable to someone else.  Giving up alcohol was difficult last year, when it seemed I needed a bit of whiskey in my tea to fall asleep, while this year I haven't had any since I drank a glass of wine on New Year's Eve.

 If I gave up food and water for forty days, I'd die, and I still wouldn't in any way, shape, or form repay God for His sacrifice, anyway, so though I owe Him everything, there is no point acting from obligation, but from love. 

While I don't mean to deny the penitential nature of Lent, I would submit that, again, we are only penitent because we have learned to LOVE, and regret unloving actions of the past.   We can't make up for those unloving actions at all, but can show that we DO love now by sacrifice.

What do I cherish that I can give to Him during Lent's forty days because I love Him?   I have until March 9 to talk this over with Him and decide.


3 comments:

jasonS said...

Love requires sacrifice, and it's a joy to do (even if it's hard at the moment). Great post, Helen. Thank you!

Peter P said...

Great post, Helen.

I'm wondering though, are you suggesting we should pull God's hair to show him that we love him? :-)

Helen said...

Yes, Peter, that is exactly what I am saying. I'm glad to know someone understands. :-)