EDITORIAL: Lent serious season for redemption
PEOPLE ARE CONSTANTLY seeking ways of achieving redemption. It is not always via a religious pathway and can include doing things in pursuit of personal development. Today, the start of the Lenten season is an opportunity for this mix of the spiritual and the individual pursuit of happiness.
Lent, a traditional time of fasting, penitence and abstinence, is one of the most important periods in the Christian liturgical calendar. For the next 40 days, Sundays excluded, the faithful will observe the season. For even non-believers it can be a time for reflection on those things that we can change and make better for people and country.
We acknowledge that there are some Christians who frown on this observance of this commemoration of Christ’s fasting in the wilderness. This ideological opposition is usually tied up in religious dogma that has much of its genesis in anti-Roman Catholicism.
Some fundamentalists hold firm that Lent has its origins in pagan ritual and belief, and therefore violates their understanding of Christianity. The logic is that we cannot make ourselves better, but only God working through Christ can. But that is a doctrinal question as much as the symbolism of today’s wearing of ashes.
In some of our Caribbean neighbours, the celebration of carnival immediately precedes Lent, which is when revellers are supposed to ask forgiveness for the excesses. But, this has not been our story. Yet, Lent is entrenched in our society where the religious and the pagan will coexist during the period; whether at today’s special services or the coming Valentine’s Day observance.
Still, the Lenten season has appeal. It has taken on significant meaning to both Christians and those who pay greater emphasis to things in the secular world. But, unmistakably the traditions of this season have an appeal which transcends religion. So it is not uncommon to hear people, regardless of faith, speak of what they plan to give up for the period. Some will fast, others will give up certain foods and drink, or stop going to fetes.
So the resolutions made today should be taken seriously, and not broken as easily as those adopted six weeks ago. The Lenten resolutions should impact on the society as much as on the individual.
As a nation, we have clearly adapted Lent to make it a practical personal experience. It may also be a good time to change not only your body but your heart and the indifference we show towards others. This should be especially true of those Christians who allow religious differences to distance and divide them, simply because of an alternative viewpoint.