The act of giving – not giving up – for Lent
Lent is a time of preparation. For many, a time devoted to abstinence and fasting. To keep a good Lent, people give things up, like eating meat or candy, or going to the movies. Giving up something pleasurable is a form of fasting, which has a deep spiritual significance. I asked a friend why he fasted during Ramadan; he replied that the hunger pains are a reminder that others don't have a meal every day.
Giving up things can be a worthy endeavor, but the best thing I heard on the subject of giving up was from our minister at Unity Spiritual Center. Reverend Joanne gave us a memorable acronym for Lent: Let's Eradicate Negative Thinking. What better frame of mind to live in, giving up negative thinking! The effort and work to get there won't be easy, but definitely worthwhile.
Instead of giving up, can Lent be a time of giving, a time of new generosity? Perhaps keeping a good Lent isn't about giving up, but giving and doing. Giving yourself the gift of knowing and loving the amazing being that you are is a kindness to yourself. Little acts of kindness, like paying for the person's meal behind you in line at McDonald's, that's important too.
Rev. Joanne explains, "While Christians worldwide use the Lenten Season as a time of prayer and fasting, Unity's focus is on fasting from negative thinking. We become aware of the thoughts that we hold that are out of alignment with who we are in truth. We choose to release those thoughts as we remember they have no power over us. With consciousness, we can embrace and affirm those ideas that are in alignment with living as the light of God that we are."
On Good Friday, April 3, there will be an opportunity to see the experience of Jesus on the cross as a reflection of where we have nailed ourselves to the cross. There will be nine stations offering an opportunity for reflection. Unity will be open 9:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m. that day for all who wish to take a self-directed walk among the stations.
"Through forgiveness, surrender and gratitude we move from the cross into the light that we are," said Rev. Joanne. "We remember that as we release our burden and shine our light we clear the path for others."
Helping the outreach team aid the Westlake Food Bank is an easy way to give to others. Donate a ham or funds toward a ham. Drop off donations at Unity Spiritual Center 23855 Detroit Road, by March 26.
Dare to be generous. Let's eliminate negative thinking!
I am Secretary on the Board of Trustees of Unity Spiritual Center. I enjoy writing about USC's events, and all are always welcome at Sunday services, or our numerous classes.