Sacrificing for Lent

Written by John Hagerman

I grew up observing Lent at my church. We were taught that we were supposed to give up something we liked from Ash Wednesday through Easter (except on Sundays, which are feast days). Sacrificing during Lent is supposed to symbolize what Christ sacrificed for us, remind us of all our blessings and help us to remember the poor and oppressed who were so much a part of Christ’s ministry.

It’s been years since I really thought about sacrificing for Lent, but for the past couple of weeks the meaning of this season has been repeatedly being brought home to me. I can’t help thinking that maybe God is trying to tell me something.

It started with a presentation I made at my church about what World Wide Village is doing in Haiti. Sorting through the photos and videos reminded me of the hungry children, the destruction, the driving poverty of Haiti. The technology I was using reminded me of how much abundance I have in my life, and how little the people of Haiti have.

Then I read a posting by a WWV associate in Haiti, Shannon Kelley. Shannon wrote about Angie, a mission team member and child sponsor, and how Angie’s authentic love for the child she was sponsoring was an example of actually living out what God was calling her to do. Angie was taking her responsibility for this child seriously, and Shannon’s telling of the story inspired a number of people to sponsor children themselves. They are sacrificing a little treasure and giving a part of their hearts to make a difference in the life of a child.

It’s pretty hard to avoid asking the question, “What am I doing?” I sit at my desk and tell stories and share the stories of others online. I work to increase the number of people who know about our work in Haiti and try to inspire them to help. But is it enough? Can I do more? What?

I’m reminded of Christ’s charge to His disciples after washing their feet. He told them to “Love one another as I have loved you.” That takes it way beyond, “love your neighbor as yourself.”

I have to ask myself, “If Jesus saw what was happening in Haiti, what would he do?” Then I have to ask, “Do I have the strength to follow?”

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