Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Repent? For what?

It's Shrove Tuesday, Fat Tuesday, Mardi Gras, Martes Gras, the Bacchanale, call it what you will, and I'm troubled as always. It's the last blast, the last day of fun and revelry before a long 40 days of Lent and repentance. There's my problem.

Repent? For what?

"Repent, for the end is near"? Doubt it. While the signs of the End Times are all around, they always have been. Global conflict, weather upheaval, strife and disease? Try the year 1000 with the Crusades, the early 1800s with Napoleon, 1918 with the Spanish Flu, any of a number of places, but don't tell me the world is about to end this very second.

Repent for my sins? What is so special that it needs repentance so badly? If I take the Catholic view, then all but the most heinous of sins are washed away by attending services. I haven't done any of the bad ones requiring special confession. If I go Protestant, it's even easier. Be truly sorry for your sins, approach God humbly, and depart in peace. No need to take six weeks worrying yourself to death.

Original sin, you say? I've had professors claim that one. Yet, it's wrong. Matthew 25:17, the tearing of the Temple Shroud upon Christ's death. A symbol, great and mighty, of the supreme sacrifice, freeing us of the sins of our forebears. I don't need to repent like that- someone already helped me out, 1950 years before I was born.

Lent is good for contemplation and focus, and that is how I choose to spend it. Focusing on the important things, and seeking the deeper meaning, these are my goals.

No, Father, I need not repent this day. I already have.


Blogger Bainwen Gilrana said...

My church is (very sensibly, I think) tending towards this same approach. Yes, we're all flawed-- this is acknowledged and accepted. So the point of Lent is not self-flogging, but reflection and listening. The traditional "giving up something" is not encouraged at all. We are instead encouraged to take on something new; a new form of prayer, a new time of day set aside to reflect, new forms of service. I think it's a much better way of leading up to Easter.

I've always had problems with the penitential aspects of Lent. It comes at the wrong time of year, for one. Why would the church put the gloomiest bit of the liturgical year during the onset of spring? Did they not think about how difficult it would be to sit through a service and focus on how evil we are when the sky is becoming blue and the wind becoming soft for the first time in months? Silly church fathers.

3/01/2006 7:11 AM  
Blogger Sensual Demoness said...

I have issues with original sin. Why should we all be punished for something someone allegedly did millennia before we were born? You call your god just and merciful. Where is the justice and mercy in that?

To tell you the truth, I believe that the Eden story is actually a symbol of the dawning of self-awareness. Humanity could not be aware of good and evil until it reached a certain point of evolution, and at that point we became responsible for our actions. That's when we developed free will.

3/01/2006 11:40 AM  
Blogger Blu Sol said...

Ok, you know I'm your girl, and although you make valid points to ponder, I must disagree wholeheartedly.

Christ died for our sins. Therefore, as Bainwen pointed out, this is definitely a time for reflection and listenting. However, if He (Christ) gave his life, and His Father gave His only begotten son--for us--then, what do we have against giving up something for such a short amount of time? For me, not only do I reflect on His grace and mercy, I want to express how much I love Him, by allowing myself to lack pleasures that are considered so miniscule in comparison to His sacrifice.

If you're in true relationship with a person, you constantly have a desire to prove that you're committed to that individual, and sometimes that involves sacrificing part of yourself--but not in a bad way. But you love that person so much, that it doesn't even seem like sacrifice. Again, it is an expression of your committment and love.

I don't have a dating or spouse relationship right now, but my relationship with my children, my parents, the people that I care about most and most of all, God, is based on natural sacrifice and willingly submitting myself to them in love.

3/16/2006 11:08 AM  

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