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Our vision as a community is to build an active, welcoming and creative Uniting Church presence in this region in the present, for the future'.

Lent - a season of self-denial
Wednesday, 23 March 2011 14:55

Self-denial is an oxymoron in a consumer society in which 'what I want, I want now, if not sooner'!!
Every major religion in the world encourages periods of fasting or self-denial.
Jews have up to six days, especially Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement) of total fasting during the year. Muslims observe Ramadan, a month of fasting from dawn to dusk. Christians have Lent - a forty day season which observes the period Jesus wrestled with temptations in the desert.
It’s interesting that in the past few years FebFast has been widely supported by secular society, with its particular emphasis on not drinking alcohol for a month.
Churches in a consumer society really struggle with Lent. Of course, many Protestants don’t observe the Christian calendar at all - all time is ordinary time. But nominally, the Uniting Church uses the seasons of the Christian year as a way of helping us reflect on the call of discipleship, and the great themes of spirituality.
A major reason we struggle with Lent is that we see ourselves as individuals, not as first a community. Spiritual disciplines are harder to do alone; many need the companionship and company of others. God has made us for community, not for ascetic practice.
The three-fold classical spiritual disciplines are found in the Sermon on the Mount: generosity to others, practising prayer, and fasting (Matthew 6: 1-21).
Back then these disciplines were taken for granted, and expected of all people. Today they need to be chosen - not to boast or think "how good am I" - but to use a season in life each year to say “no” and “yes” to living thoughtfully and sacrificially.
What will you say “no” to in your life, and “yes” to others in participating in this season of life?