Lent: a practice of adding, not subtracting, for HC staff

by Jenna Ratzlaff – Horizon News & Features Editor

The season of lent is a time when people seek renewal or rejuvenation. Most people give up Netflix, candy, soda, or desserts.

But admissions counselor Omar Reyes decided to add more to his daily routine instead of giving something up. He was given the idea a few years back by a friend.

“My hope on adding something to my daily life is to do it more often,” Reyes said. “In the past when giving things up for lent, I found myself going right back into my old routines once lent was over.”

Among the typical sacrifices made for lent: Candy, social media, junkfood and screen time. Photo illustration by Sarah Booth

Reyes states that he often found himself going back to old habits after the season of lent was over. His ultimate goal was to form a habit of being healthier.

“It’s said that your body is a temple, and it was time to clean my body. When I work out I like to reflect on my day, my life, and my faith. When I run, I like to run outside. I like being out in nature because it makes me feel closer to God.”

Campus Pastor Todd Lehman is following along the same lines as Reyes during this lent season.

Lehman chose to take on an extra weekly practice of a Lenten reflection. Three to four days a week he sets aside 15-20 minutes for contemplative prayer along with a scripture reflection.

“For my understanding, Lent is a time to be intentional about purpose and to slow down. For some, Lent is a time to experience the discomfort of denial. If giving something up enables one to experience that, then that is great,” Lehman says.

In an article written in a Patheos Newsletter by author Brian D. McLaren, he talks about the new coming trend of adding more to your life instead of giving something up for lent.

McLaren talks about some advice that his pastor gave them at the end of a church service. “He said, ‘Don’t focus on giving up something for the sake of giving something up. Instead, try to add something good to your life, and only give up what’s necessary to add that something good.'”

Sure, sacrifice is still sometimes necessary.

“But it’s the adding, not the subtracting, that’s the point,” McLaren states.

In the end, Lehman says it’s all about resetting priorities.

“Lent is a season that helps us identify with Jesus,” he said. “Sometimes in the busyness of life, we lose focus on identifying with Jesus. Lent calls us back and helps us refocus, and that focus makes the event of Easter more significant.”

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