Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Ash Wednesday

I grew up in a very Catholic town, where every school child was expected to "give something up" for Lent. The motivation for that tradition stems from an understanding of Christ's suffering and sacrifice. I'll admit, I always felt that attitude only told half the story.

Perhaps that's why Regina Brett's column in Sunday's Plain Dealer caught my eye. The headline asked what you'll be giving up, but her list of suggestions quickly morphs into positive actions. It reminds me of dieting: you can't just give up unhealthy eating, you have to replace it with healthy eating.

For Lent, we give up songs that proclaim Alleluia, and we set aside the more boisterous hymns of praise. Instead, our texts will contemplate Christ's sacrifice, and we'll hear more music in minor keys. I'll be playing with leaner organ registrations and with more music on the piano and harpsichord.

So I encourage you not simply to give something up, but to add something in its place. Give up your Wednesday evenings for church (or even better, come early for the soup supper and stay later to sing with the choir!). Sing the communion hymns; pray and meditate to the sounds of the prelude and postlude; discuss the readings and the sermon with your family over lunch. What will you give up for Lent? But even more importantly, what will you add to your life to enrich this season?

1 comment:

  1. Excellent thoughts. I had never thought about adding something as I give up something! Thank you.